Countless hours have been spent keeping his resume in tip top shape and every evening he is at the computer surfing the web for companies that he can submit it to. One night after doing so he experienced something that defies description. To try and relate his experience to someone would only invite laughter or ridicule.
He wants something better. What he gets is . . . well . . . you just won't believe it.
There's a new superhero in town. Meet . . . PHASE.
Les Farley wrote these profound words that effectively served to shape his book Phase. While Phase easily fits within the fantasy and sci fiction genre, its message of finding meaning for one's life has universal appeal.
Nelvin Crumholtz is an unhappy man. He is sentenced to a mundane existence on the rat race of a life, defined by a thankless telemarketing job. In addition, Nelvin considers his unusually thin body as grotesque. Consequently, his nights are spent on the computer, polishing up his resume and applying for better jobs. Nelvin also commits to a punishing exercise regimen hoping to build his body. While he wants to be hopeful, he is discouraged because he feels his prospects on the career and personal fronts are slipping away. It isn't until an inexplicable event turns him into the Phase, a crime fighting superhero, that Nelvin finds happiness and a renewed sense of purpose.
Farley provides his own spin on the mild-mannered guy put into the superhero limelight. The take here is not the alien from another planet who blends into society with the help of a disguise. Rather, Farley writes from a scientific perspective to flesh out Phase's characteristics. Further, the antagonists in this story are the politically corrupt who feed on the despair of the masses. From beginning to end, Phase offers action packed sequences, mystery and suspense.
For the most part, I felt that Farley's premise was well-executed. However, there was some things about the book that I found difficult from a reader's standpoint. First, the change from writing in the third person to pursuing a first person narrative approach took me out of the story a few times. For example, the jump from I to Nelvin to our friend was a writer's prerogative, yet (for me) this technique hindered the comfortable flow of the story. In addition, I would have preferred more description when it came to Nelvin and some of the other characters. I had some difficulty visualizing Nelvin in my mind other than the fact that he was very thin.
Phase is an ingenious tale and an enjoyable read. I give it a Blue Book Worm Rating.
The hero of Phase doesn’t seem like he could ever be a hero. He’s a young man in his twenties, stuck in a telemarketing job. He isn’t good at phone sales so his work days are a struggle. He drives home from work in his old clunker and he spends his evenings looking for job postings online and playing computer games. He has only one or two friends. He is skinny and frail and to top it off, his name is Nelvin Crumbholtz. In spite of this sad state of affairs, there is a spark in Nevin that inspires him to better himself and to strive to succeed.
In an exciting science fantasy twist, Nelvin is chosen to be a super-hero. At first, he is skeptical. He hesitates to use his new-found powers and vast physical strength. But, there is a cause for freedom that only he can promote. There are people to be saved. Can Nelvin triumph over evil?
“Would he spend the entire weekend as Phase? Would he wake up as he normally would? Would he remain in that other version of Chicago to spend the weekend fighting?” Author Farley has created a likeable hero and an interesting fantasy situation. Mr. Farley has a creative mind and there are some page-turning moments in this story.
I gave this book a blue bookworm, because the story is written more as an allegory or a parable. There is not enough detail, and excitement for an adult reader. The story arc is creative, but lacks the substance of powerful dialogue, pacing, scenery changes and imagery. However, this would be a good story for a YA reader.
Phase offers some helpful insights and ends with Christian witness.
“Someone who only focuses on the negative aspects of their existence remains stifled by them. But if someone feels good about what they have done or is able to find distractions from those negative aspects they will focus less on them.”