Saturday, November 21, 2015

You'll be in The Commons when you Read The Journeyman...Beware! Presented by Michael Alan Peck (all pics are from this site location)

There are many names for what is called "The Commons" in Michael Alan Peck's novel. Most of us have at least heard one word--Purgatory--where, supposedly, all living beings go for the final test, quest, or justification as to where they will spend eternity... Not every faith even has this place as part of their religion. However, if there was, wow, has it changed from what you've heard about it!

Take one rich man, an entrepreneur, who sees the potential for power...and you can look forward to quite a changed location! This is a very weird fantasy--a fantasy so weird that it is fascinating! The imaginative genius of details for this 526-page book is unbelievable and reflects a writer that has taken care to present every image our minds create and making sure that we fully understand exactly what is happening... I admit that I had to slow my reading down--I didn't want to miss a bit of the marvelous ingenuity presented...

The Journeyman:
  The Commons

By Michael Alan Peck

Dante might have written about it, but I wondered if he was actually there in The Commons, later, when it all started happening... certainly because this contemporary novel in no way resembles his story... This novel is so up-to-date in concept that the reader is quickly drawn in and may find it difficult to realize the setting is not earth... at least after Paul Reid and many others died on a bus which crashed...

Paul Reid died in the snow at seventeen. The day of his death, he told a lie--and for the rest of his life, he wondered if that was what killed him...

Annie Brucker sat on the floor of the Port Authority basement, waiting in line for gate two. Leaning against the wall, she read aloud to her five-year-old son, Zach. She held the book, Trina and the Travelin' Shoes, with one hand. With the other, she kept a cat's eye marble rolling back and forth across the backs of her fingers. She'd been doing this for forty-five minutes, flexing her knee to keep it from going stiff. Her throat burned from speaking. Her fingers ached. But she kept it up for him. Success with the marble meant Zack watched it instead of withdrawing to his inner place. If he didn't withdraw, then he might listen. Keeping him engaged was worth the discomfort...Annie didn't want to know about autism. She wanted to know about Zach. Did he suffer? Was he happy, or was he lost? Was he truly autistic, or was that the easy answer for doctors chasing a goal of how many patients to see in a day?...

Zach? The voice ended Paul's attempt to doze through the wait for the bus. Napping was impossible... A pretty red-haired woman stood behind a little kid who was staring at him. "Whatcha doing?" she asked the boy, who Paul figured was hers. She smiled in greeting. "Who's that, Zach?" she said. "Did you make a new friend?" "Hello Zach," Paul said. The kid regarded him with the most serious of expressions. "What's going on, buddy?" The woman's smile fell a little. Maybe she didn't like nicknames. The kid turned to his mother and held his hand out, beckoning. She hesitated, unsure, but then placed something into his palm. He offered it to Paul--a marble...

"I'm in Hell."
Porter swallowed. "No."
"I'm dead, and this is Hell."
"Nothing's been decided. We're only
starting." That's why you're in The
Commons. Your fate will be
determined here. By you."
"Where am I, Porter?"
"The Commons is its widely used
designation. Others called it
Sojourn...The Way Station. It's
Purgatory to the Catholics, but
their model's a bit off.
In a building somewhere in The Commons, a single man worked. He was the only man left there in the building, which had once been busy as people came in, were assigned an envoy, and began their journey to their final place.
Jonah Porter sat at a desk in the Central Assignment Department of the Envoy Corps home office. The desk was the size of a dining room table, and it was not his. Porter's desk was in cubicle 814, near a window with good light. He'd earned that spot decades before, when Corps management rewarded his century of service with an enviable new location and a leaded-crystal paperweight containing a hologram that resembled him if tipped just right. He'd commandeered the team director's office, which was closer to the message-relay tubes. If something came in, he would hear it...He clocked his days watching dust float in sunlight focused through thick windows. He wondered if he should again try to stop drinking diet soda. When the tubes began delivering fewer assignments, the couriers stopped coming to work, so the Envoys monitored the tubes themselves...Then the assignments ceased to mean anything. Then they ceased altogether...

"I died on the bus."
"Some did, to be certain, but
not necessarily you. What you
do here decided where you go
next--back to your life or
forward to the next stop. Reward
and punishment may come into
play, but that's never been
proven. Your fate is yours
But now only Jonah Porter was left--he was the last envoy! There was nobody working at the Central Assignment Department now, except Jonah... And it was just by chance, that he had heard and finally found the message that told him that he was needed. Paul Reid was beginning his journey and Jonah was to serve as his envoy!

Just a brief statement to share that all people who were entering Purgatory was being stopped. Some were put to work, such as Annie, Zach's mother, because of her computer skills. But they drugged her to speed up her work and slowly it took her over to the extent that she forgot about Zach most days...

But somebody else was watching Zach, at least until he disappeared...

All of the essence of living beings, plants, animals were being captured at the first stop in The Commons, until it was decided where they would be placed.

Once Paul and Jonah connected, they were joined by several others. The one thing I really enjoyed was that characters in books, having been created, were also in The Commons. Cool, right?

The easiest way to close out is to merely say that somebody has gotten tired of the changes which had been made in The Commons! Change was underway!

I've not ever read a book like this--it is unique, but, yet, so familiar, except with the magic, fantasy, and scifi components thrown in... Kudos to Michael Peck for stepping into a new realm of contemporary its best... Go check it out! By the way, here are some pics from the author's Pinterest page...See what you have to look forward to!


To me, it's not real until I've put it into story form, which means I repeat myself a lot. In fact, the phrase that passes my lips most often is, "I may have told you this before, but ..."
I've made my living writing about TV, its celebrities, and its past. (I used to pen a column called "Ask the Televisionary" for TV I've also put food on the table reviewing restaurants, writing about travel, and doing SEO and content strategy.
Only the writing counts in the end.
I have a godawful memory, so I focus on the written word. I like to think that over time, I've gotten better at it--the writing, not the remembering. I forget important dates. I'm pretty good with movie lines. But after several years, I tend to tweak them. I prefer my versions over the real ones.
Funny goes a long way with me. Probably further than it should.
I grew up outside Philadelphia and have lived in New York, L.A., and San Francisco. My current home base is Chicago.
At holiday time, the missus and I terrorize the world via The Little Drummer Boy Challenge. Please join us.

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