Ray Shannon is an ordinary guy, driving home on an ordinary day.
But then Ray saves a stranger named Alyssa Weaver from certain death, pulling her from her burning car in the midst of a massive freeway pile-up.
Now Ray's entire world has changed. Literally.
The highway on-ramp that used to have one lane now has two. Ray's colleagues at work have been replaced by new faces. Ray's wife suddenly hates him.
Even worse, the cops suspect Ray of murder.
And worst of all, the evidence points to one conclusion: they're right.
Now Ray and Alyssa need to work together to figure out what's going on, before everything they know slips away forever.
Continuity Slip reads like an archetypal summer Hollywood movie. The writing is clean and polished. The narrative pushes forward relentlessly. Parallel universes are always fun, and the philosophical conceit at the heart of the novel -- the way little changes in experience might cumulatively impact a person's entire nature -- is intriguing. Ray and Alyssa are a likable couple, and their romance is not only part of the plot, but cleverly explains the plot (and yes, I know that sounds rather cryptic).
However, also like many big-studio films, Continuity Slip feels a little shallow. Although the novel raises interesting concepts, it never explores them. All of the recondite discussion about alternate realities ends up serving only as background color for a standard murder mystery that could just as well have happened in this reality. The two plot threads never significantly mesh. Indeed, once the mystery is resolved, the shifting realities thread is wrapped-up very quickly, almost as an afterthought.
I look forward to reading more works by Till Noever. He plainly is very talented, and Continuity Slip is nothing if not professionally written. The strength of Noever's style and the affability of his characters easily carried me through the novel. I only wish that the journey had lived up to its full potential.
Continuity Slip is available as a pdf download from Lulu ($1.45) or in paperback from either Lulu ($9.99) or Amazon ($13.00). Till Noever also has a website which provides details on his other novels (and which, annoyingly, auto-shrinks my browser window).
Clubbo Records' website claims that "[f]or more than 40 years Clubbo Records has epitomized the maverick spirit of the old-school independent record labels." It speaks proudly of the label's history of issuing "bold, if sometimes ill-advised music," and includes detailed biographies of some of Clubbo's biggest hitmakers over the years.
However, Clubbo Records does not really exist. The website is a big, elaborate joke. So elaborate that the site includes dozens of song pastiches representing Clubbo's hits over the decades. These songs perfectly capture the sound and feel of their (supposed) eras. More than that, they're really good pop songs as well. There are many highlights, including the brilliant progression of one song ("Yeah Yeah No No No") from mournful 60s ballad through 70s folk-rock remake and 80s dance hit to cat food jingle. (Indeed, Clubbo's songs are not only available for streaming on the website, but are deservedly available for purchase in two compilation volumes available on iTunes, CDBaby, and eMusic).
Personally, I get nostalgic over Clubbo's early 80s band Bleep. Bleep may be best known for "Rubber Lover" (their paean to inflatable sex toys). But who could forget (if it had ever existed) Bleep's thought-provoking masterpiece "Space Doors," with its profound ruminations upon the manifold nature of reality ("There are doors in space / leading somewhere else / where you're face to face / with your other self")?