A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl (5 out of 5)
Valerie was a co-star on a sci-fi TV show with her husband when a family tragedy leads her to leave the show, her husband, and LA. She takes their son Alex with her and moves all the way across the country to New York. Years go by, and now she must reunite her 9 year old boy with his father. She and Alex begin the long trek cross-country, making a point of Valerie stopping in and making appearances at comic book conventions along the way. Alex is at a highly impressionable age, and he and Val both get swept up into the comic-con brouhaha and way of life. The supporting cast of characters is fantastic. The reader feels curiosity and camaraderie immediately with the regulars who form relationships with both Val and Alex. Seriously, if you have ever been a regular of or attended a comic book convention or any sort of fandom gathering, you know that the atmosphere and the people who attend are highly unique in their individuality. The author does a great job of illustrating that. Alex becomes happily entrenched in this fantasy world, but the closer he and Val get to seeing his Dad in LA, he begins to realize that this happy psuedo-reality he has envisioned is probably not at all close to the reality of what really awaits he and his mom when they arrive. I have seen reviews likening this to “Kavalier & Clay”. I can agree with that, except more through the eyes of a cute, whimsical young boy and his fiercely protective mother. The bond between Val and Alex is touching and yet realistic in all of its current and complicated situation. Dare I say I found parts of this beautiful? Yes, I dare say it. Val is a great character, a mother who loves her son so much she tries to shield him from what they may find in LA, but never once denying him a glimpse into the world’s of sci-fi geekdom. I cannot recommend this book more. It has got to be one of my favorite feel-good books this year. It IS out, unlike a number of the books I have reviewed lately. So get your asses down to your local bookstore and buy it!