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The Beautiful Land Paperback – June 4, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Tak has nothing to lose when he gets a call from the Axon Corporation with an intriguing job offer: exploring alternate time lines. Once he’s spent a few years jetting between different realities, however, he discovers that Axon is up to more than just exploration, and he steals a mobile time machine and goes rogue. The cartoonishly evil mad scientist at Axon’s helm, Charles Yates, who would “smother a baby with a pillow” in the name of science, has nefariously plotted to destroy every reality in existence with the help of a virus: a flock of grotesque, birdlike creatures that indefatigably obliterate everything. With the help of his friend Samira, a PTSD-stricken, former Iraq War translator, Tak flashes in and out of realities to escape the virus and hopefully save all the universes. Tak’s sardonic and irreverent tone moves this interdimensional caper along at a quick and entertaining pace, which helpfully distracts from its thin characterization. Averill’s debut may lack depth, but it makes up for it with a quippy lead and well-wrought action. --Sarah Hunter


"[A] masterly novel of time travel...fresh, witty dialogue...combines the suspense of a Michael Crichton thriller with the character development and dazzling landscapes of Scarlett Thomas." (Publishers Weekly)" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 361 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425265277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425265277
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alan has been writing for as long as he can remember. His first novel, The Beautiful Land, was the winner of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. He's also done writing and localization work for dozens of video games, including Fire Emblem Awakening, Hotel Dusk, and Nier.

He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife Sue, his dog Sam Perkins, and a whole lot of rain. You can find more of his random musings on Twitter at @frodomojo, or at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Will in Seattle on June 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Beautiful Land is one of the most inventive and well-written sci-fi/horror novels I've read in a while. It's a little genre-bending (If you read sci-fi, think Dan Simmons) in that it's science fiction but with elements of horror. Not a happy-happy read in parts. And the creature.... yikes.

It's the story of two damaged friends who are trying to figure out how they can be together while keeping the world ... and reality itself ... from tearing itself apart. What makes this book work so well is not only the author's imagination and description but the depth of these characters. These aren't your standard sci-fi characters, who are just there to keep the plot moving. These are real people, people that make sense, that you like, that you can sympathize with, that you **want to survive**!

Just try the sample (Kindle); you'll want to read the rest of it **and you won't be disappointed**!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christina Paige on June 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
I don't know how Averill earned the right/ability to wield black humor - gallows humor, war humor, whatever you want to call it - but he has the knack of it. At first I was reminded of Generation X, then Snow Crash, with some Rudyard Kipling and World War I poets thrown in for good measure, then a dark variation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, even a little bit of The Magician's Nephew, and The Blues Brothers. If you have liked any of the above mentioned, you will seriously want to get your hands on this book.
The first section's subtitle, `low-rent Suicide' is followed by protagonist Takahiro O'Leary's attempt to end his life because there are no boundaries left for him to push, no wildernesses left for him to measure his resourcefulness against, only to be interrupted (with ludicrous consequences) by a phone call and an offer to go right out of this world. Tak was hoping it was his one friend, Sam, calling instead, but this will do. Tak will spend the next 4 years charting alternate realities for the Axon Corporation. Meanwhile Sam, who thinks her friend committed seedy suicide, has been on 3 tours of duty in hot zones as an Army translator and is scheduled for a fourth. The scene with Samira talking to a VA psychiatrist? Spot on. Averill does a damn fine job of describing PTSD, and I wonder how he got to do that too.
After doing all the dangerous work for Axon Co., Tak proceeds to steal a mobile jumper device and sets out to find Sam before the scientist who invented the technology of alternate-world exploration destroys this one.
On page 28 I began snickering and chortling, and by page 33 I had to stop reading long enough to get my breath. On page 44 I was on the edge of tears.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Books31 on June 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Beautiful Land starts off odd and only gets weirder from there. As Tak and Sam jump between realities readers will be both engrossed and confused, constantly waiting in eager anticipation to see what happens next. I found myself both unable to put it down and utterly shocked when I did manage to by how much of the book I had read in a single sitting. The action and suspense is infectious and readers if they are anything like me wont be able to put the book down once you start.

Of course while the action and never ending suspense are engrossing my personal belief is that The Beautiful Land's best quality is its writing. I've read reality and time jumping based books before and most of them fall short in the simplicity in the writing, instead trying to confuse, adding layer upon layer of complexity and needless characters and situations just because they can. Averill does add random other characters but he uses them in interesting ways to show the effect and check on the realities, not just as a literary style technique. Not only that but the simplicity in the writing feeds the suspense that the story itself builds allowing readers to get more engrossed in the story and thus enjoying it more.

This book isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy mind bending tales about mad scientists, survivalists reality stars, and reality jumping, then this will certainly be your cup of tea.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By lisa on March 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I found this an interesting read. You start out at a decent pace, with Tak about to commit suicide. Slowly you reveal titbits about Tak, his life and why he's bent of self-destruction. The there's the offer (without revealing too much) and at this point I am completely hooked.

All good books are built on coincidence - enter Samira. Love how you weave in the story, you get really into her head, and the experiences of a disturbed woman. You leave the reader on a hook, and I for one would read on.

A couple of suggestions: He's poor, very poor. Sold his shoes to afford a room. How does he end up with such a huge room, with exposed beams and the roof opened up, and the noose so high he needs not only the dresser, but a chair to reach as well? Maybe it's because I'm from England, but I picture cheap motel room like in the programme My Name is Earl, and can't imagine such a nice room would be in his budget.

Also when she's picking at her nail, the spot is a `good centimetre away'. Exactly how long is her nail bed! Sorry, but I fell out of the story trying to picture the image.

Best of luck with the competition.
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