He Walked Among Us
by Norman Spinrad
Review by Tom Easton
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765325846
Date: 30 March 2010 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /
From official release/information:
Product Description: What, exactly, is He Walked Among Us? In a way it's science fiction. It's also an acidly satiric satire of show business. The novel is screamingly funny at times. There are New Age aspects to He Walked Among Us. It's philosophical. It might deal with Quantum Physics. And it also has some hardcore scenes that might make Edward Lee wince.
Jimmy Balaban is an aging, seedy, third rate show biz agent. He meets a dubious comedian named Ralf who claims to be from the future. He's here to save us from ourselves. It's an odd act, but Jimmy is a pro and the nose knows. Maybe there is a little bit of money to be made from this strange act. He takes Ralf on as a client and hires a male science fiction writer and a female New Age guru to turn Ralf into the cash cow that he always wanted. Astonishingly, it works. The question remains: Who, or what, is Ralf?
Spinrad has called He Walked Among Us his magnum opus and I definitely agree. I've been a fan of his work for a long time and I've been continually blown away by his writing. He Walked Among Us, however, is a revelation.
Naturally, a lot of people aren't going to get it. This isn't an easy, simple book. Oh, it's easy enough to read, but it's even easier to dismiss it as gimmicky fluff. Worse, readers could feel that Spinrad has a condescending attitude toward his audience. That he's laughing at them or feeling smugly superior. I don't feel that way, but a complex novel like He Walked Among Us can be interpreted in endless ways. That's part of the beauty of it.
Spinrad has always had an amazing imagination, which is augmented by his own radical sensibilities. (edited by author)
(Source: Tor Books)