Terry Fallis ventures into space

Readers of this column and others will recognize the author Terry Fallis, for his very entertaining book entitled, The Best Laid Plans. In that yarn, Angus McClintock became a Liberal member of Parliament, against his wishes.

Up and Down

By Terry Fallis

$22.99, publisher Douglas Gibson

Readers of this column and others will recognize the author Terry Fallis, for his very entertaining book entitled, The Best Laid Plans. In that yarn, Angus McClintock became a Liberal member of Parliament, against his wishes.

His only goal was to lose the election, so naturally the public grew to love him. It is a hilarious look at Canadian politics.

In this romp, David Stewart, fresh from a job on the political staff of the minister of State for Science and Technology, has joined the international public relations company Turner King.

He learns quickly that elbowing your way to the top is part of the game.

It’s his first week on the job and the boss from the company’s New York office, Crawford Blake, has them vying for a contract with NASA.

Federal funding for NASA is at an all-time low, and no wonder, people aren’t turned on by space shots anymore.

Launches have become routine; the public (so the polls say) would rather go shopping than watch a space shuttle leave Earth.

NASA is asking for a PR stunt to bring attention and funding back where it belongs.

But Crawford Blake reminds his team that NASA is a conservative group, with aging astronauts on the board. “So, we go big, but not off the wall, this is a stodgy group.”

David is thrown in at the deep end. The idea that comes to him is so far out, and so off the wall that some people really like it, and Crawford Blake, most assuredly does not!

The plan is to run two contests, one in America and one in Canada.

Each country’s contest winner would go in the shuttle up to the Space Station, and they would have a role in the mission.

Anyone of legal age can enter and, if chosen, pass the health and fitness requirement, then, off to the “final frontier.”

The contest is very successful. In Canada, there are 1,723,590 entries. The computer generates a random number.

We have a winner!

The Canadian winner is L. Percival from Cigar Lake, B.C. It becomes David’s job to go to Cigar Lake and inform the winner, since he/she is not on computer and has given no phone number.

Remember, any adult citizen of Canada can enter.

David meets the winner and there are so many unexpected details, so many unusual circumstances, so many wonderful surprises, that he just has to be cunning and resourceful to make it all work.

Meanwhile, America has found their winner. He is Eugene Crank, a 38-year-old, God-fearing deputy sheriff from rural Mississippi.

L. Percival is uniquely Canadian, she won the contest fair and square. Will a few minor details keep her from going into space?

At the end of the book, David falls in love. If there is anything I like better than a truly funny book it is one with a happy ending.

Go. Read it. Enjoy!

Peggy Freeman is a local freelance book reviewer.