The Pocket And The Pendant
By Mark Jeffrey; Read by Mark Jeffrey
13 MP3 Files – 10 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: markjeffrey.typepad.com / Podiobooks.com
Themes: / Science Fiction / Young Adult / Physcics / Immortality / Time Travel / Aliens / Time / Ancient Astronauts /
“On April 8th at exactly 3:38 in the afternoon the world STOPPED.”
It is one of the fundamental constants of the universe – every second thrift store one enters will contain a lonely shelf somewhere in the back with a battered paperback copy of Chariots Of The Gods? by Eric von Däniken on it. That is a terrible, terrible book. I encourage you – only partially in jest – to burn down any store that has one. Chariots Of The Gods is a massive failure in every way but one, it’ll help me tell you about a certain 1970s pop culture concept – the “ancient astronauts” theory. This is a speculative/delusional hypothesis that posits that extraterrestrial aliens are responsible for the ancient civilizations of Earth. Basically it argues that ancient people with their distinctive lack of heavy diesel powered machinery, could not possibly have constructed things like the Pyramid of The Sun at Teotihuacán and so the relics of archeological wonders throughout the world must have been constructed by aliens with a ‘higher’ technology. It is of course a ridiculous notion, wholly unsubstantiated by any evidence that wasn’t manufactured by fraudsters. That said, it can occasionally makes for a cool basis for fiction.
Mark Jeffrey’s The Pocket And The Pendant uses the concept of ancient astronauts to very good effect. This is the story of Max Quick a very odd little boy and his companions, other children who’ve found themselves trapped living in a frozen instant of time. Has this time “pocket” has been caused by the strange aircraft in the skies above the USA? What about the almost magical books that everyone who isn’t frozen seem to be after? Only the aptly named “Mr. E.” knows the answer. Weaving together a carefully researched history with an intriguing and well executed scenario Mark Jeffrey has put together an engaging and satisfying adventure that while aimed at a younger audience never talks down to it. Basically Jeffrey does for science fiction what Harry Potter does for fantasy – I’d say he does it better by layering in facts and mythology from many sources. He takes the whacked out theories of Zecharia Sitchin and asks “what if they were true?”, mixes it up with action like The Matrix, the premise of the Doctor Who “Key To Time” arc and with a couple dutiful nod to the 1959 and 1985 The Twilight Zones.
Jeffrey is very inventive with solving the problems he’s created. But there was one thing that bothered me about the story, if Max and his companions are trapped in time how can they see? Let me explain, this is basically the same nitpick I had with H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, without light hitting a retina you can’t see. If time is stopped then the light has stopped (in The Invisible Man the title character’s retinas are transparent!). I’m nitpicky.
Jeffrey reads the novel himself, doing accents, adults children boys girls and aliens. The sound quality is very good and well leveled, but there is one caveat, a constant musical score underlies the reading (almost always keyed to characters and events in the tale). In this case it is fairly benign, and certainly allows an atmosphere of emotion to build in the story – but not having heard the tale without music I’m not sure if it wouldn’t have been better just as a clean reading.
SFFaudio COMMENT: This is the second “Podiobook” we’ve reviewed on SFFaudio, and the quality is WAY, WAY UP THERE, not just in terms of podcast novels, but in terms of novels on audio. Combine this fact with the price, which is just a request for a donation if you enjoyed the experience, and you’re literally crazy by not listening to them. The worst that can happen is you listen, enjoy the heck out of it and then feel guilty for a few years because you were to cheap to throw a few $$$ towards the producers. Go ahead now, give yourself a gift, subscribe to Morevi: The Chronicles Of Rafe And Askana and The Pocket And the Pendant you’ll marvel at your own generosity.
Posted by Jesse Willis