Clark Jackson (not Clark Kent) has a very ordinary life until he finds a portal in his back yard. Then he leads a very extraordinary life but remains a very ordinary man. “I wonder if Sarina likes me” becomes as important a question as what do the Feds know, and far more important than the fact that aliens might be invading earth.
The alien technology is dangerously easy to use and Clark’s inner dialog is humorously juvenile. Falling from one unlikely situation to the next, Clark, like a modern-day Gulliver, travels the universe trying not to be fried, eaten, ignored or thrown out with the trash. All while keeping ahead of the FEDs and putting in the hours to keep his job.
The story reads like an adventure game. I can almost imagine rolling the dice, choosing my portal and waiting for the gamesmaster to tell me how the natives react. Conversations convey detail from lifestyle to lifespan and more. And the streets of Des Moines, Iowa, might never be the same.
At 333 pages this is a fairly long novel. Though the dialog reads quickly, the detail can sometimes slow it down. TV scenes of invasion and inept violence pair ironically with Clark’s own thoughtlessness, leading to a final conflict filled with the bells and whistles of computer graphics. First in a series, this novel stands alone with no problem. It upsets a lot of aliens and just maybe leads Clark to a slightly greater sense of responsibility. The story would make a good TV series and feels complete rather than cancelled when you reach the end.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.