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Friday, July 20, 2012

Extra Innings


I think most people were shocked to learn shortly after the death of Ted Williams that his body had been cryogenically preserved.  I suppose we all assumed that Mr. Williams, or members of his family, hoped that he would some day be brought “back to life.”  Then, most of us shrugged and said, “Yeah, right.”  Well what if exactly that was to happen near the end of this century?  What would Ted think?  What would he do?  This is the proposition around which Bruce Spitzer builds his new novel, Extra Innings.

Some ninety years after his death, Ted Williams wakes up in a hospital wondering how he got there.  Frankly, his doctors, not really expecting quite such a successful “reanimation,” are soon almost as shocked as Ted himself.  Accounting for Ted’s relatively quick recovery of a fully functioning body is that his head has been affixed to the body of a young tennis professional who was killed in an accident that conveniently (for Ted, not for the tennis pro), destroyed his head in the process of killing him.

Bruce E. Spitzer
Although the set-up for all of this is a little long, particularly as it involves Ted’s physical therapy work in the hospital, don’t give up on it because you will miss the fun if you do.  Extra Innings might be a bit closer to a stand-up triple than a home run, but I never complain about good, solid triples.  Just as in real life, Ted’s story has two distinct chapters: an illustrious baseball career interrupted by service to his country at the behest of the United States Marines.  In fact, I felt a little like the Ted Williams character himself when the book suddenly shifted from a baseball story to a war story.  As the fictional Ted Williams put it, “It was as if his life was a novel, a baseball novel, and in the middle of it an entirely different book broke out.”  Don’t worry, though – it’s all good.

Bruce Spitzer, with any luck, will find quite a broad audience for Extra Innings because the book should appeal to baseball fans, science fiction fans, environmentalists, and fans of military fiction.  It is not the most serious piece of fiction out there, but amid all the fun, I came away from it with a new appreciation for Ted Williams, the man, and what he accomplished in his life – and wondering how I might live my second life differently if given that chance.

Click on the jacket image for a close look at this brilliant cover.

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)
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