Book Review – Early ReTyrement by Robert Raymond
Early ReTyrement is a self-published novel by a fellow Florida writer who happens to be the husband of a former coworker. I’m not going to give it a ‘star’ rating because it feels inappropriate for me to do so. It would be like a seagull judging another seagull’s efforts to beg potato chips from tourists at Disney World. (Sorry. This analogy just popped into my head and it somehow seemed appropriate. If you’ve been to Disney World, especially Epcot, you probably get it.)
In lieu or a star rating, I’ll say two things instead: I really enjoyed the story. I recommend it. If you want to translate that into stars, feel free to do so. They’re subjective.
I picked up the trade paperback edition of this book from the author at the OASIS 25 science fiction convention in Orlando last month (May 2012). I stopped at his table near the registration desk because the cover of his book caught my eye.
“That’s a really great cover,” I said, or words to that effect.
“Thanks. A local artist did it for me.”
Again, I’m paraphrasing. I’m not good at remembering conversations and certainly not one from over two weeks ago. I can never seem to recall things properly at night that I said that afternoon, such as what time I told my daughter to be home. I know my memory for such things is faulty because she always remembers a set time that is at least an hour later than I thought I said, and since her brain is far younger than mine and has suffered less abuse, I’m sure she must be right.
Be that as it may, I do recall him telling me about his book, which sounded like it might be fun. I already had several books on my ‘to be read’ pile and several more on my ‘to be reread’ pile, though, and there were other things to see and budgets to watch, so I refrained from buying a copy of his book and continued my wanderings.
The convention had just opened and the crowds were thin. I scanned the room to see if I recognized anyone, perhaps an author or someone from my writers’ group. Then, not three yards away, I did see a face I knew but not one I expected.
“Hi, Jane. I didn’t expect to see you here.” (Do I need to say I’m paraphrasing again?) For several years, Jane and I worked in the same office with a few hundred other cube denizens. I do not know her well and had no idea she was a science fiction fan. Actually, I still don’t know if she is because that’s not why she was there.
“I’m here with my husband. His table is down there. He’s got a book he’s selling.”
I looked to where she pointed. “The one with the great cover?”
She responded with a meek nod.
I made an about face, returning to the table, which now was manned not just by some other indie author peddling his book but by Jane’s husband.
We talked a while about writing, the self-publishing experience, and such things, and I bought a copy of his book.
When I returned home that evening, the book took its spot in my ‘to be read’ pile. It reached the top on Friday. I spent almost all of a rainy Saturday reading it.
It’s a story about a software developer named Mason. He’s a regular guy and he works for a regular company plagued by unfortunate but not uncommon levels of office politics, incompetence and nepotism. An accident caused by his newly appointed and drastically unqualified boss sends him back through time and space to Tyre, which is now a coastal city in Lebanon. When Mason arrived over 2,300 years ago, it was an offshore island and a part of the Persian Empire.
Mason lands in the sea, is ‘rescued’ by traders, and sold as a slave. He doesn’t know where he is. He doesn’t speak the language and doesn’t know the customs. In fact, very little of what he does know has any application here, and this is what provides the central plot for the story. Despite being from a future time, he finds he has much to lean. Eventually, he also discovers there may be a few things he can teach.
This book is a little bit historical fiction, a little bit ‘Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,’ and a little bit ‘Romeo and Juliette.’ (Yes, there is some romance.) The combination is unique and a lot of fun. Give it a try.
You can find out more about indie author Robert Raymond here: http://www.robertraymond.com/