NESFA Members' Reviews


by Chris Heimerdinger

Covenant Books, ISBN 1-55503-131-5, 1989, 229pp, US$8.95

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1996 Evelyn C. Leeper

This is a book whose target audience is teenage Mormon boys. I, on the other hand, am a middle-aged Jewish woman. So why am I reviewing this?

Well, perhaps the main reason is to remind people that there is more to science fiction than what they find in their local mall store, or even in their local superstore. Here is a book that in its eleventh printing, has spawned a whole series, and that I can almost guarantee that practically no one reading this has heard of.

Although teenager Jim finds his classmate Garth a bit of a nerd, he is fascinated by Garth's discoveries in a nearby cave. So he and Garth and his younger sister Jennifer go exploring, fall into a whirlpool, and wake up in the Meso-America of the Nephites and the Lamanites. (The Nephites and the Lamanites are tribes from two thousand years ago described in the BOOK OF MORMON.) So what you have is a group of teenagers who find themselves in another time and have to use their knowledge of history to get by.

Of course, the history is Mormon history, so this is more like finding oneself back in Joseph's Egypt than at Plymouth Rock. And while it must be meaningful and educational to someone who knows at least the basic story, it's a bit baffling to someone who doesn't. (I suppose that one might claim that it should teach it to someone who doesn't know it already, but it didn't have that effect on me, partly because with Jim and Garth back there, things are at least slightly changed from the "real" history.)

Am I recommending this? Not really. Unless you live in an area with a large Mormon population, your local bookstore won't have this. While I assume that you can order it directly from Covenant (no, I don't have the address or phone number, but I'm sure directory assistance can help you), it's not clear that it's worthwhile for most people. On the other hand, if you want to look at some of the "edges" of the fantasy field, you might find this interesting.

%T      Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites
%A      Chris Heimerdinger
%C      American Fork, Utah
%D      1989
%I      Covenant Communications
%O      trade paperback, US$8.95
%G      ISBN 1-55503-131-5
%P      229pp
%S      Tennis Shoes
%V      1

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