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High Times, An Alien Paradise
Mark R. Viliborghi
Xlibris, 125 pages

High Times, An Alien Paradise
Mark R. Viliborghi
Mark R. Viliborghi was born in small town America, just after WWII. He grew up interested in technology and wanted to improve life in the human universe.

Mark R. Viliborghi Website
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A review by John Enzinas

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High Times, An Alien Paradise is the worst book I have ever read. Actually, I'll go a bit farther. It is the worst piece of fiction I have ever read. I don't make this statement lightly; I've read The Eye of Argon.

The author says "This book is the result of a magical dream from the Cosmos, that I, the author, experienced. This was no typical dream. This is no typical SF novel. There are serious messages perhaps from the beyond here. What's going on?"

What's going on, indeed.

The story is told in the first person in present tense by Horn, a saxophone player in the house band at High Times,  a nightclub/dance-hall/restaurant with a heart-shaped swimming pool in the basement. Horn, and many of the other employees of High Times live an apartment building who spend all of their free time either wandering back and forth between their apartments (with no concept of door locks or privacy or personal space) or at High Times.

The book begins with a little introduction of all of the fascinating and funny people who are in the band at High Times. The only other employee who is mentioned is the maintenance man who also does the lights. There is a description of a typical night with their brand new singer, Micki.

We then skip forward to the following Sunday when everyone is hanging out, raiding the kitchen at High Times. Jack and Jill slip down to the pool where they have a terrible sex scene. The phrase "You Know Where" should never be used in a sex scene, especially as part of the description and definitely not multiple times. 

Meanwhile Horn and Micki decide that they are going to pretend to get engaged and write out a script they are going to improvise on New Year's Eve when they fool their friends with their prank. Horn secretly hopes that Micki wants to actually get married.

The story skips ahead to New Year's Eve and the town's Chamber of Commerce is giving out awards of High Times Stock to the people who have done the most to make the town a better place in several categories. All of these awards are won by High Times employees. Then Horn and Micki act out their little script and Horn explains that he wants to really get married and so does Micki. Surprisingly, a priest is there and marries them at Midnight.

This takes up about the first two-thirds of the book. There is no tension whatsoever, no emotional excitement, no anything other than people who seem to be having happy and lead bland lives. So, since there is nothing going on, the book skips ahead three years.

The band is sitting around talking about their next set list and they get side-tracked talking about the half of the basement that has no lights. In fact, it is sometimes extra dark. Many of them have heard noises or have seen things that look like kids down there in the dark. What could they be?

After fortifying themselves with drinks and snacks, they go down to take a look. It's very dark. They go back up. They have more snacks and drinks and then go back down with flashlights. They are not bright enough. The flashlights, I mean. So they go back upstairs. They have more drinks and snacks. Then the light guy sets up some flood lights and they go back down. After a few more trips down, fortified by snacks and drinks each time, they eventually discover that there are aliens doing something in the basement and a giant power cable that's stealing electricity for the alien's unknown purpose. At some point in there they specify that they are not drunk.

They decide that, instead of perhaps talking to the aliens or the building's owner, they are going to cut the power. The aliens magically thwart every attempt until Horn decides that he's going to go up on the roof and cut the lines with a fire axe. As he cuts the third and final line, his spirit is blasted into the future where he sees from a distance that High Times has fallen into disrepair and there are some derelicts living in the building while, all around, the town has experienced great prosperity.

And then the book ends with the promise that more could follow.

This book is good for one thing. Reading to your friends to watch the horror on their faces as you solemnly intone "You Know Where."

Copyright © 2010 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.


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