Genre Science Fiction Publisher Coventry Circle Year Published 2006 Review Posted on 12/6/2006 Reviewer Rating
5 out of 10
3000 Years, by Richard Mgrdechian
Reviewed by C. Dennis Moore
If you've read this book, why not
I guess I could blame folks like Tom Clancy and John Grisham, guys who had good jobs and anonymous lives until they one day decided to write a book and all of the sudden they're huge and famous and everything they do turns to money. I COULD blame them for all those other anonymous people out there who one day decided to write a book with expectations of joining their ranks overnight, being the next big thing, adored by millions. I could blame them for all those crappy books that come from places like Publish America or, worse, IUniverse, who I believe you have to PAY to publish your book, written by business professionals with a hankering for a piece of that Clancy or Grisham pie. I could. But I won't. Because sooner or later everyone's gotta take responsibility for their own actions. And that means if you want to write a novel, for God's sake spend a few years learning to write. It's the first step, after all.
You don't sit down at a keyboard one day--or, if you REALLY want to emulate Grisham's beginnings, with a yellow legal pad--bang out a novel and you're suddenly a writer. I've read before there's a million-word apprenticeship that comes with this gig and, while I don't know if writing a million words is REALLY necessary to consider yourself a WRITER, I do know there's more to it than just writing a novel and paying a company to publish it. LOTS more.
Richard Mgrdechian has worked as an engineer for NASA, an investment banker, and a high-tech CEO. His bio also mentions he's an avid futurist, so I guess that means he should write. What? Anyway. I got a strong sense while reading Mgrdechian's novel 3000 Years that he was just another business professional who wasn't going to be satisfied with life until he'd written that darn novel that's been gestating in his head since college. So he wrote it, and IUniverse published it. I'm not sure if they should have charged him more, or if he should ask for his money back. Whichever it is, SOMEONE got gypped.
3000 YEARS starts in 2005 in California where Professor John Bennett has discovered a way to change the speed of light, thereby slowing time. Sounds awesome. He's about to realize his dream and become a world-renowned physicist. Then his girlfriend Dawn tells him she has cancer. So Professor Bennett does what any loving significant other would do, he suggests they get into his Slows Down Time Machine and travel 50 years into the future to see if they've got a cure.
I have to take sidestep here just to point out this is Bennett's FIRST reaction. There's no talk of treatments or surgeries, just straight t. Let's just do some time travel and SEE if MAYBE they can cure it.
So they enlist John's best friend, leaving all of Dawn's friends in the past, of course, because she's just the girlfriend, what does she need friends or family for? After all, her sister's dying with cancer too, but there's just no more room in the machine, where would the dogs Oberon and Puck sit? With John's friend Sam on board, they hop into the machine. Remember, I said his discovery is a way to SLOW TIME. He even calls it the Time Suppression unit. Want to know how he slows time? He puts himself into cryogenic sleep for 50 years.
Admittedly I'm no scientist, FAR from it, but . . . well, that's not even the same thing, is it? I would think that by suppressing time you'd be doing something to have an effect on TIME, not putting YOURSELF to sleep for 50 years. Am I wrong? Or is this book just stupid?
So the doctor, his cultural anthropologist girlfriend and his scientist friend wake up 50 years in the future to find things have changed a lot. Californian has split into 5 states, all with their own laws. Sam goes to jail for Abhorrent Vocalization, because he says, in public, that he hates Chinese food. Everyone carries ICDs, which are pretty much every electronic device you've ever owned all in one. You can call, email, you can PING someone if you find them interesting, sending them your bio and a holographic image of yourself. They're pretty nifty. Except, sometimes when you pass someone on the street, your ICD might PING and when you look at the screen, there's a picture of the person you just passed with a big red A on their face. What's this? That person's been marked, they're roont!
They've been charged, at some time in the past, with ABHORRENT VOCALIZATION. Apparently anyone who's ever said anything negative about anyone ever will have this red A follow them around for the rest of their lives. Because, you know, that's MUCH worse than, say, a big red M to warn people you're a potential mugger, or you've ever done time for murder. Abusive Husband never shows up or Deadbeat Dad or Pumped Gas and Drove Away Without Paying, you know, the serious things people might actually need to know about you when they meet you. God forbid, Abhorrent Vocalization. And just to be honest, because we're all friends here, I would have been arrested a good six or seven times while reading this book.
Dr. Bennett and his crew come out of stasis--sorry, they allow time to resume its normal rate of flow--in 2050, just in time to save the world from the release of a deadly nano-tech virus being unleashed by a former student at the college Bennett professed in back in the day. Meanwhile, Dawn discovers their time of inactivity in the Time Suppression Unit has only allowed her cancer to grow even faster and now there's just no hope for her--good thing Mgrdechian introduced those nanites, innit?--but she soldiers on, keeping her field notes up to date documenting this strange new world they've found themselves in. She's a trooper alright. Then again, what else is she gonna do, she left her friends and family in 2005.
I could go on, but I think it's obvious at this point that 3000 Years just didn't do it for me. Not even close. Course, I knew in chapter one when Mgrdechian kept hyphenating come-on that there was trouble ahead.
Mgrdechian has created a pretty complex world here, albeit a rather stupid one, and filled his prose with all the detail a Clancy fan could want, because apparently that's all writing really is. Slap some details onto your ridiculous plot and you're golden. Let's not spend another second worrying about the incredibly flat characters, the horrible dialogue, or the fact that not once in the reading of this novel could I figure out where the 3000 comes in. They didn't travel to the year 3000, they weren't asleep for 3000 years, so even the title doesn't make sense here.
Another page Mrgdechian took from Clancy was the series set-up. Bennett and crew have a plan to keep traveling into the future 50 years at a time, spending a few months studying the society, then going back to sleep for another 50 years. And I'm sure that, if Mrgdechian actually writes any of those further adventures of John Bennett, his loving girlfriend, and his trusty sidekick, there'll be trouble a brewing every time they step out of their stasis tubes, and John Bennett will always save the day. And I, as your loyal and trusted adviser, feel it's my duty to stop that from happening. Do you see what I go through for you people, how I suffer for your sakes? Kee-Rist. I got this book for free and I still want my money back.