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Tamper Paperback – June 17, 2009
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About the Author
Bill Ectric's previous fiction includes "Time Adjusters," in which insurance companies use a new light-bending technology to capture images of future disaster areas so they can unfairly deny coverage to those who need it most, and "Space Savers," a blend of science fiction and the supernatural about a sinister plot to control the residents of a retirememt home. Bill is also featured in the Litkicks book "Action Poetry: Literary Tribes for the Internet Age." On the internet, Bill's work has appeared on Literary Kicks, Dogmatika, Mystery Island, The Beat, Empty Mirror Books, Lit Up Magazine, Syntax of Things, and 99 Burning. Bill Ectric lives with his wife and son in Jacksonville, Florida. By day, when not writing, Bill mows the lawn and complains about the heat. By night, he sneaks around in the back yard, convinced that the garden gnomes are "up to something."
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A very good story. For the nonfiction, go to THE WAR OVER LEMURIA by Richard Toronto.
Ectric gets his title from the infamous "Shaver Mystery"--a kind of minor publishing scandal in the 1940s that played out between science fiction magazine "Amazing Stories" and the American author and artist Richard Sharpe Shaver. Part of Shaver's fiction (which Shaver claimed to be true) was that the Earth was inhabited by subterranean mutants who would torment the brains of humans using invisible rays. Shaver called this process "Tamper." This is the central metaphor of Ectric's book: "something" that is visiting and revisiting Whit's mental experience. We find that in Ectric's work (as a kind of creative critical reading of Shaver's mental illness that is evident in the Shaver's work) that tamper is less of a paranormal force than it is a psychoanalytic phenomenon. Tamper, here, seems to me to be more or a metaphor for the uncanny resurfacing of memory and the fear of losing the marvel of childhood. Tamper is melancholia and nostalgia: "The air vibrated with fractal spirits of children running in all direction on the uneven lawn," Ectric writes, "memories of the past almost overpowered my senses. I could barely stand it and I wanted a drink. A strange noise registered in my brain. Here we go again with the weird buzzing in the walls, I thought. Tamper. Or is that a bumblebee I hear, zipping around among the flowers? I know I hear something" (Ectric 230).
One thing that is most striking about Ectric's novel is how it acts as a kind of reminder that so much that is strange, odd, zany, and on the fringe of rational articulation is also what is so emphatic about everyday lived experience. Just as Whit sits with his origami lotus fortune-teller, manipulating "the four paper diamonds with [his] thumbs and forefingers, open/closed, side-to-side/front-to-back, watching the chapters of [his] life converge and scatter, converge and scatter" (Ectric 240), Ectric's novel looks back-and-forth, side-to-side interrogating memory with a kind of mourning for the imagination where consolation is always just so slightly out of reach. For all the entertaining paranormal intertextuality and insightful mischievousness, what really lingers after reading "Tamper" is its thoughtfulness and warmheartedness.