After three TV seasons and 10 previous books, the “Roswell” saga arrives at its country-spanning conclusion, “Turnabout” (November 2003). Andy Mangels’ and Michael A. Martin’s novel, the wrap-up of the many threads laid down in “Pursuit,” finds different groups of heroes fighting little battles and doing little missions until it all comes together in a huge showdown. I enjoyed reading it, and the authors serve all the main characters well.
In Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s co-authored debut “Relic” (1995), Agent Pendergast is already established in his career. The same goes for Lt. D’Agosta and other staples of their quarter century of novels. What’s particularly neat about “Old Bones” (August, hardcover) is we see the very first case of FBI Agent Corrie Swanson, whom we first met as a punkish Kansas teen in “Still Life with Crows” (2003).
One of the paradoxes of Philip K. Dick’s career is that he wrote his most robust and mature observations about human behavior at the sputtering start of his career, with none of those nine books from 1950-60 being immediately published. Then he tried his hand at pulp SF and got good at it. But writing about the human condition in 1950s California under American societal morals of the time was arguably his natural calling.
Roswell’s” book-based “Season 4” starts with “A New Beginning” and “Nightscape,” but the stakes seriously ramp up in “Pursuit” (September 2003). Authors Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin, who previously wrote “Skeletons in the Closet,” tell us that Max and Liz have now gotten married – as per the flash-forward at the end of Season 3 – so now all bets are off. There’s no continuity reason why Max, Michael, Isabel, Liz, Maria, Kyle or anyone else can’t be hurt or killed.
It takes some getting used to, I admit, but eventually I got on a roll with Nina the Vampire Slayer in Kiersten White’s second Buffyverse novel, “Chosen” (January, hardcover). I should’ve braced myself for it after having read last year’s “Slayer,” but first-person present-tense writing is unusual enough that it’s still like getting a bucket of cold water to the face when you crack the book open.
Eye in the Sky” (1957) is one of Philip K. Dick’s most influential novels – or at least prophetic of what future authors would explore – as he delves into subjective realities. Also explored in his short story “The World She Wanted” (1953), “subjective reality” is the idea that everyone’s perception of the world comes from inside themselves rather than outside.
After launching “Season 4” of “Roswell” in book form with “A New Beginning,” Kevin Ryan also writes the second “episode,” “Nightscape” (July 2003). He continues putting the teens into genre situations not found in the TV series; “A New Beginning” is a small-town kidnapping mystery and “Nightscape” is a haunted-house horror story.
Philip K. Dick is known for wild ideas, so sometimes I anticipate them from the title. Before reading “The Man Who Japed” (1956), I would’ve guessed “to jape” means to jump through time or dimensions, and while the book does touch on that concept, it actually means “to pull a practical joke.” It should be noted PKD didn’t invent “jape” – Merriam-Webster says it originated in the 14th century and had a resurgence in the 19th century – but I think it’s fair to say he resurrects a forgotten word.
Executive producer Jason Katims says in the DVD commentary for the series finale of “Roswell” that a theoretical fourth season would’ve found the teens on the road, helping people with their powers while staying a step ahead of the Special Unit. The closing image of Max and Liz getting married at a rural church is a nod to what Season 4 might’ve been.
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