Following an inexplicable urge, Ted Barton returns to his idyllic Virginia hometown for a vacation, but when he gets there, he is shocked to discover that the town has utterly changed. The stores and houses are all different and he doesn't recognize anybody. The mystery deepens when he checks the town's historical records...and reads that he died nearly twenty years earlier. As he attempts to uncover the secrets of the town, Barton is drawn deeper into the puzzle, and into a supernatural battle that could decide the fate of the universe.
©1957 A. A. Wynn, Inc., © renewed 1985 by Laura Coelho, Christopher Dick, and Isa Dick. (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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Ted Barton returns to the small Virginia town of his youth and discovers the town is completely different. It is ground zero for an eternal battle between two Zurvanite Zoroastrian demigods/twin brothers -- Ahura Mazda (Ohrmuzd) and Angra Mainyu (Ahriman). This fight is being waged by proxy using two of the town's more precocious tweens (Mary and Peter).
The novel starts like a typical Rod Sterling production, but like PKD is want to do, it quickly transforms and expands into something almost out of an H.P. Lovecraft novel (Lyn, I love reading your review AFTER and discovering a similar vibe). This novel is one of the main reasons I love PKD. Here is a guy, in his youth, writing a pulply Sci-Fi novel and he can't help jump from campy Sci-Fi into a bizarre Zoroastrian battle that is both across the Universe and in a small Virginia town. He is the epitome of high brow (Zoroastrian demigods) and low-brow (turning a ball of string into a tire iron).
It is strange that in the same week I would read TWO different novels that basically play with the idea of Zoroastrianism being true (the other is Stephen Peck's A Short Stay in Hell). So, if I learned anything this week, it might be that it's time to bone up on my cosmogonic dualism because I don't want to be the last person on Earth to suck up to the supremely wise, Lord Creator, Ahura Mazda.
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