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Beta Test Hardcover – December 20, 2011
Griffith offers up an unusually lighthearted apocalyptic tale.... [the] adventures border on the absurd as he travels from New York to California to Australia while the world at large inexplicably ignores the insanity thrust upon it.
About the Author
Eric Griffith lives in Ithaca, New York, with his girlfriend and anywhere from three to five dogs, depending on the day. He writes features for PCMag.com but refuses to do your tech support. You can follow all of his online exploits by starting at egriffith.info.
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All done? Good.
The story begins with a series of sudden mass disappearances. Then things really get weird. Despite the obvious connection to Rapture novels of the "Left Behind" school, this is in NO way a religious novel, unless you're the sort who thought The Matrix was a documentary. It's a desperate bid to save reality as we know it by a couple of guys from a Dilbert comic, a cougar, a crotch-terrier, an ex-soldier who could only be played by R. Lee Ermey, and a heroine transgendered in ways that get funny looks even in San Francisco.
All of this comes to us in a form that reads like the case notes of an omniscient observer. The text even includes footnotes to explain just how funny this book is. The style doesn't so much require getting used to as forgetting the way you're used to reading fiction. It's a new and unique approach, that leaves you thinking, "I didn't know you could write a book like that!"
You can't. Eric Griffith can. And it works. Tells you something about his literary prowess, doesn't it?
Read the book. Tell friends about it. Demand more like it!
The footnotes are the punchline in half of the book, and it's great. I'm not sure how the footnotes read in the physical book, but in the Kindle it's really easy because you just tap on the hyperlink for the note.
I found this author's writing to be descriptive in a way to leave you with a great visual, but without going overboard. I'd say that this book would lend itself perfectly to being made into a screenplay, and as a movie, might be in the same genre as "Sean of the Dead" . Perhaps.
Regardless. There were a few evenings that I was jumping at the bit to put my toddlers to bed so I could get back to reading this book. I loved every minute of it! I recommend it to anyone.
Then the day he finds out that the girl he likes also likes him, she quits. He follows her down the stair and they share a sweet kiss. He offers to go with her, take care of her, unable to understand what is going on... when she vanishes. (GASP, what?!? Then what?)
Well that was certainly a sharp twist. Now I really want to read the story. This twist definitely moved it up to an A+ grade. Unfortunately due to computer error, I only received the first chapter... thus the gasp, what?, and a sharp cry because I SO want to know what happens next.
I give this preview a 4 out of 5, leaning toward 4.5 with the fabulous twist in the end of chapter one (be sure to read the excerpt).
This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.
They can also be very dry and humorless reads, nearly devoid of emotion.
This is anything but the case in Eric Griffith's debut novel, Beta Test.
The author shatters the illusion of the dry-as-a-desert-planet sci-fi novel by crafting a fun, well-written plot that follows a group of mega-geeks led by one Sam Terra as he embarks on a quest to save the Universe as we know it. While not overtly a comedy, there are plenty of laughs to be had along the way, but make no mistake - this is very much a story for adults, and at the heart of the novel lurks a concept as intelligent as any you will find in the pages of traditional sci-fi reads.
As Sam and his pals uncover the mystery of The Vanished, Mr. Griffith sprinkles references to classic sci-fi movies and TV shows of the 70's and 80's throughout the book, and as if that isn't fun enough, the author makes clever use of footnotes - once the harbinger of universal reader boredom - to flesh out the characters in short, witty anecdotes, avoiding pages and pages of flashbacks. Or flash-forwards. And - since this is sci-fi - flash-sideways!
If you are a fan of traditional science fiction novels, and have a sense of humor, give this book a read. Is it groundbreaking? Probably not, but that's a term that's usually reserved for the serious books anyway. As for breathtaking - if that means big laughs, then yes!
If you're not a fan (like me) of traditional sci-fi novels, definitely give this book a read! The author will have you enjoying all that highly conceptualized sci-fi hoo-ha by using his razor-sharp wit - and a crotch-sniffing dog.