Thursday, January 09, 2014

Book Review - Nixon's Guide to the Multiverse

Marty Andrade is a friend and a colleague of mine.  I like him and enjoy his company.

This relationship, however, will not bias my book review of his latest book "Nixon's Guide to the Multiverse."

The reason it won't bias my opinion is because, factually, it is a very good book.  Matter of fact, after dealing with a lot of serious political, economic, non-fiction book, it was a hell of a break and pleasure to read.

The basic premise is an alternative reality of  "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."  It involves the inter-universe space and time travel of a motley crew of creatures, some humanoids, some Migrid Serpents, and of course, one Richard Milhous Nixon.  Like The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it has no plot, allowing the characters to get into situations impossible in this multiverse. But unlike Hitch Hiker's Guide, Andrade beats Douglas Adams in my opinion in several ways:

First, Andrade thoroughly explores and incorporates all the possible theories about the universe and physics, namely multiverses.  That there are infinite realities, infinite universes, parallel universes and that because they are infinite, EVERYTHING is possible.  This not only paints a background for a book that can have unlimited humor, but also makes the reader deeply ponder and think about the nature of the universe.  Is reincarnation real?  The question is moot.  In some universe you probably existed before, because, why not?  It is this freeing of the mind that is the intellectual counterbalance for a book that is largely humor.

Second, the incredible creativity that could only be epiphanized on the golf course.  Understand with a truly limitless universe Andrade's creativity had to live up to this limitless canvass - and he did not fail.  The universe of turtles stacked upon each other, the concept of meta-cars, a wing-monster that naps with half a brain so he can function with the other half, and the come back of the Red Baron all show that Andrade not only used the concept of "limitless multiverses," but availed its potential for creativity as well.

Third, the humor.  I would contend Andrade's wit and humor is as funny and dry as Victor Borge's.  You're just going to have to read the book to see what I mean.  But there will be multiple instances where you snicker at first, but laugh out-loud as you realize just how truly funny and clever it was that you just read.

Fourth, character development.  Hard to feel pity for a Migrid Serpent or a bird-monster-diplomat, until you get to know them better.  And you most certainly will as you read the book.

Finally, the primary reason I found it better than Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is it was easier to follow.  Douglas Adams moved WAY too fast for me.  I had no idea what was going on, and had to re-read several chapters.  I inevitably gave up on it, opting instead to watch the movie, and even then I still could not understand it.  "Nixon's Guide to the Multiverse" is easier to follow and makes a lot more sense for a book that in a Seinfeldian way is not meant to. 

My only complaint is that it is too close of a genre of "Hitch Hiker's Guide" that many people would consider it mimicry and not an original idea and would have liked to see Andrade's talents go to something completely new and original. Regardless, I found it a better book than Hitch Hikers, and the humor and dopamine fix I received in the two short days it took me to read it was worth the price.

You can find "Nixon's Guide to the Multiverse" on both paperback and kindle.


JoeAmerica said...

I think it will make a fine addition to the Richard M. Nixon Presidential library :)

Jaske said...

HGTTG is confusing because of the many transitions from different media. It started as a BBC radio show, was re-written for a BBC TV show, and also re-written in book form. Doug Adams wrote all of them, I think he did a good job translating the story into different media. You need to remember that it was basically written week to week for the radio show, so it is more of a series of stand alone skits.
That said, I'll give the Nixon book a try, based on your recommendation.

heresolong said...

You thought that watching the movie of something would be better than reading the book?