If you knew that there was something on the other side of a door that shouldn’t logically exist, would you through it?
In his efforts to locate the items on “Mr. Nachron’s List”, Ron Maddock is confronted by some surprising obstacles. Many are seductive, but complicated. Others seem toxic but they are benign. His charming and apparent naiveté is a contrast to the strength and energy of his closest friend Crystal, who is a patient ally as Maddock’s orbit becomes more eccentric.
Albert Nachron, the originator of this quest, proves that he has chosen his friends well as the trio negotiates a daunting temporal maze with courage and humor.
As the protagonist leaves the gauzy humid appeal of South Florida for parts unknown, he finds himself in the company of a colony of lepers in Panama, a Habsburg princess, and Richard Feynman, the noted American physicist. He even found time to spend with a cross-dressing Civil War sailor aboard a monitor class vessel called Sangamon which was patrolling the Carolina coastline. Historic settings are accurately portrayed to tantalize a reader with an appetite for history. The accomplishments of his tasks were typically a celebratory relief taken in the hospitality of Fort Lauderdale.
Ron’s personality has been flavored by a multitude of events, some positive but not gaudy, others humiliating but not shameful. A surfboard, a fishing rod and a handstamp to get into a night club were his most useful, if temporary possessions. The single quality which may have elevated him from the mediocrity that an onlooker might perceive, is a singular appetite for new experiences. Extraordinary stimuli should be exciting to many of us, but to Ron, it was the ultimate intoxicant. The planets must have aligned for him with the old friendship of Crystal and the arrival of Albert Nachron into their lives.
Ron had his own personal goal however. He had always hoped he would reunite with an old girlfriend named Lynn, who was every man’s dream and every mother’s nightmare. She once calmly and skillfully flipped a lit cigarette into Ron’s chest before they made love. That’s just the kind of girl she was. If you had asked him which he would prefer, a beautiful female with a graduate degree, or a cute girl with crazy eyes, he would answer without a second thought.
In this captivating tale, the believable has been woven cleverly into the impossible in a way that gives life to some of the improbable dreams that attract us all.
To say that this odyssey comes full circle with the completion of the assigned tasks is to grossly underestimate the size of the circle.
The author provides a literal and a hypothetical tapestry for the reader to enjoy.
Mike Corbett has spent his fortunate life in the company of stimulating people in extraordinary situations. Along with Laughter of the Damned (a satirical sendup of heaven and hell) and Mr. Nachron’s List (a blend of romance, history and science fiction), he has written tactical books on poker and backgammon. Corbett is fascinated by the wavering border between reality and fantasy and he is a master of the transition from observation to interpretation. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Mike Corbett graduated from Rollins College and Crummer Graduate School of Business in Winter Park, Florida. He established an international reputation during decades of high-level game competition in addition to providing entertaining lectures and contributions to periodicals on game theory.
If the reader detects subtle hints of autobiographical material here, he has not been misled. Stupidity is more clearly detailed in a rearview mirror than when we are confronted by it, making the adolescent male a perfect challenge for natural selection.
Fortunately, our memories tumble satisfaction and regret into something that would not play well in the confessional.
Mr. Nachron's List
My father died before I turned thirteen, and my mother could not control me and provide for us simultaneously, so I ran wild through my adolescence. I learned how to drive cars and motorcycles before I could legally obtain a license, and alcohol and tobacco abuse were peer-dictated rites of passage. Youthful ignorance produced the illusion that hurricanes weren’t dangerous, but merely a temporary end to school and a great opportunity to surf. I’m sure you couldn’t keep drunken Iowa kids out of tornados either, but we were fascinated by leaning into the howling winds to see how sharp an angle would support us while garbage can lids and tree branches flew by. Since I’ve never lived in Canada or Finland, I can’t really say if the colder climates somehow deprive their inhabitants of comparable stimuli, but for twelve months a year I could find a place on a beach to have a beer and make love to my girlfriend. How do you top that?