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Once There Was a Way: What If The Beatles Stayed Together? (Breakpoint) Paperback – December 5, 2017
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“The attention to detail is amazing and the way the author weaves in truth and fiction is remarkable." - Barb Fischer, reviewer/blogger, Married Book Nerds
“Once There Was a Way‘s greatest strength is its [historical] divergence and subject are not based on war and politics. The real stars of the show are the Beatles and how they overcame their egos to play on as a unified band… a refreshing change of pace. If you want to see how a rock band can change history, then [this book] is worth checking out.” - Matt Mitrovich, alternate history reviewer, Amazing Stories
“Once There Was a Way offers Beatles fans a glimpse into moments with the band which never happened in our own timeline. When Zabel describes their concert in Central Park, he brings the event to life in a way that makes the reader wish the concert had actually happened.” - Steven H. Silver, founder, Sidewise Award for Alternate History
“A fun ride… a believable alternate version of 1968-1976.” - Edward S. Chen, Podcast Host, When They Was Fab: Electric Argument About The Beatles
“I love the way Bryce has combined his vast knowledge of the Beatles with his fabulously, wild imagination. This is an alternate history of the Beatles that at times makes you wonder which parts are real and which ones are made up. So much fun! So inventive! A great read!” - Donny Most, Actor/Director, Happy Days
“Early in the book there is a meeting between John, Paul, Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. As I was reading I found myself wondering why I had never heard the story before, and how great it would have been to be a fly on the wall that night... totally forgetting it NEVER HAPPENED. So skilled is the writing that not 50 pages in and I had already completely accepted Bryce's reverse engineering of history. If you are a Beatles fan, you really need to read this. If you are not a Beatles fan, you really need to read it anyway.” - Josh Kaplan, Executive Producer, Good Day LA
“What a joy! The challenge of an alternative history novel is to make it as rich and detailed as an actual history book―in other words, the author needs a fertile mind capable of true world-building. Zabel has that kind of mind. He clearly has encyclopedic knowledge of the seminal events and personalities of the 70s and 80s and puts it to great use as he transports the Beatles from one iconic person/event to another. Small spoiler alert here - if you get a little thrill imagining the Beatles onstage at Woodstock, this book is for you. Some quantum physicists say that in one universe or another, all paths are taken. If that's true, then what Zabel writes here is really happening on an alternate plane―and I for one would like to visit it! This book is a triumph.” - Brad Lemley, Author, former Contributing Editor, Discover magazine
“As a semi-avid Beatles fan, I'm pretty familiar with the band's history, but this book provides fascinating additional detail, then embellishes it with imaginative what-might-have-beens! For instance, I was unaware that the Beatles and Stanley Kubrick were considering making a Lord of the Rings film together. (This is actual fact, which I looked up after reading about it here.) Zabel takes this premise and develops it in a whole new direction, which is wildly entertaining while remaining completely plausible. There are numerous, mind-blowing examples throughout the book, and I don't want to spoil them here, but it was great fun to learn actual Beatles lore and then see it sprout into well-told fiction. Zabel's background as a news-man and dramatic storyteller serves him and his readers well!” - Eric Estrin, Editor, Movie Smackdown
“This book is devilishly clever while never treating the subject matter with disrespect. If you are a fan of the Beatles, if you grew up in the 60's and 70's, or if you just like crisp, entertaining writing, this is a fun trip down memory lane, and when you're done, you'll realize that it didn't even matter if all those memories were actually real or not.” - Steve Friedlander, VP Distribution, CBS Films
“Thought I’d read the first chapter to get a feel for the book. About six hours later I was returned to 2017 with a vision of what could have―what should have―happened to one of my favorite bands. Bryce’s book is a time travel machine to reshape history the way we wish it had unfolded. I hope you enjoy this long and winding (alternate) road as much as I did!” - Brent Friedman, digital entrepreneur, staff writer, Star Wars Rebels
“What a fun 'ticket to ride' Bryce Zabel has given us. From the Beatles starring in Stanley Kubrick's 'Lord of the Rings' to the tales of the Fab Four's ongoing trials and tribulations post-1970, Once There Was A Way offers a window into a world that never was. And too bad that it wasn't. Highly recommended.” - Alan D. Abbey, Director of Media, Shalom Hartman Institute
“Zabel obviously has a deep understanding of not only the Beatles themselves, but the times in which they lived. The result is a story that’s by turns plausible, realistic, surprising moving (expect at least a couple of lumps in the throat) ….in short a great read. In fact, the only complaint I can offer is that I finished the book wishing that it was fact, not fiction.” - W.C. Hall, alternate history writer, McCallandia
“This delightful premise lets us reimagine the Beatles together and productive. Zabel can't resist playing around with reality: the record albums that never existed, movie appearances that should have happened, but didn't, and the iconic concert performance that never came off.” - Mark Sanchez, Television Journalist, KOIN-TV
“Bryce Zabel has really done his research and takes us on a journey across a better universe than we were able to experience. He conjures up albums and concerts that might have been. He imagines how the John, Paul, George and Ringo might have changed the course of history. It's a magical tour that I was very happy to take. I highly recommend Once There Was a Way.” - Lynda Karr, graphics editor, Movie Smackdown
"Hold on to your hats, folks. You’re in for quite a ride.”―Harry Turtledove, alternative history author, How Few Remain, on Surrounded by Enemies
"I have some experience with shattered timelines and altered realities but this one kept me guessing every page.”―Damon Lindelof, writer/producer of Lost, Star Trek into Darkness
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For this 60-something Beatlemaniac the author created a fabulous, mostly believe storyline. And generally captured the essence of the principles very well. All in all a beautifully written book of what could have been . . . if only . . . Leaving this reader wistfully wishing that even half of what he’d read had come true.
The Beatles’ music has been - and continues to be - the soundtrack to my life. Both as a band and solo artists. Though, gosh, what I wouldn’t give for a world with 3 remaining Beatles, & 21 albums recorded. Among them some of the greatest live concerts ever performed. This book almost made me believe.
If only . . .
His first alt-history novel, “Surrounded by Enemies,” focused on a well-explored theme: what if John F. Kennedy had not died in Dallas? Zabel managed to bring a fresh take to the concept, despite the fact that dozens of titles on that topic already being on the shelves. In his new book, “Once There Was a Way,” he delves into a lesser-explored subject, but just as compelling to Baby Boomers or anyone steeped in the history of the sixties: What if the Beatles had not broken up in 1970, but instead continued to make music into the seventies?
It’s hard to provide a detailed plot summary without spoilers, so I’ll just tell you that the story begins in the post-Sgt. Pepper era. Small changes in the Beatles’ story produce a cascading effect that averts the breakup and allows the world’s greatest band to continue into another decade and another day. Zabel obviously has a deep understanding of not only the Beatles themselves, but the times in which they lived. The result is a story that’s by turns plausible, realistic, surprising moving (expect at least a couple of lumps in the throat)….in short a great read. In fact, the only complaint I can offer is that I finished the book wishing that it was fact, not fiction.
Most recent customer reviews
Not being Zabel's first foray into alternative history (i.e.Read more
I really appreciated the notes from the author after the end of the story, and...Read more