When a trucker sets out to write a novel, one expects an autobiography, a travelogue, or an exciting tale that closely resembles the adventures of Sal Paradise. But for Alfy R.E. Meyer, a veteran truck driver, none of these sorts of stories were on his mind when he sat down to write his debut novel.
Meyer’s ABAJAM Chronicles: Two Families Lost in Time is not a story about trucks or truckers or a journey along a road. It’s a science-fiction tale about two families who are mysteriously sent to an alternate universe. They have no idea why they were sent there and if they can ever return to life as they remember it.
Like a classic whodunit, you are quickly pulled into a world where not every thing makes sense and uncertainty is the only constant.
Drinking Johnnie Walker whiskey, a cloudy Albert Meisner, the main character, explains the circumstances in which his family got to where they are now. It looks as though the characters are in their southern Ontario home, however there are no buildings and roads or houses around them – another universe, not unlike the world they’re used to, but not like it, either.
They seem to be in a completely different time (no TV, no Internet and no phone lines), only they don’t know when and how they got there. Things for Albert and crew get worse when he begins to figure out that perhaps they were sent to this time and place because of some curious alien artifacts he found a dozen years ago. These same artifacts have given him superhuman powers, like being able to relive the past with vivid clarity (sometimes he becomes mentally trapped in that time) and mutual telepathy with his son.
If you’re wondering what trucking has to do with it (or why Truck News has chosen to review this book), it’s important to note that Albert, the protagonist is a professional truck driver. It’s hard not to see the similarities between the author, Alfy R.E. Meyer, who himself has been an owner/operator for more than 35 years and the main character.
Albert’s modesty on being just a “simple trucker” rings true to the humility of the author. Meyer is not just a truck driver too, obviously. He wrote this book, of course, blogs regularly and has even written some editorials for trucking publications.
Though it is Albert who prides himself on only being a trucker and hopes that his future son-in-law (who is called a nerd throughout the book) will wake up from his comatose state to help get them home, it is his knowledge and tact of chronicling everything around them that seem to be the only help these characters get.
Though Albert is the hero in the novel, it’s hard not to like Bernie, his wife, above the other characters.Her sarcasm and wit (when she’s not outright panicking about the alien modules) lighten the mood of the novel. She’s also the only one who seems to put Albert in his place, which had a certain reality TV element which was appreciated.
The story is entertaining, especially if you like playing a guessing game and trying to figure out the ending before you get there or if you’re into aliens (and are curious about alien bacteria).
If that isn’t different enough for you, the book also contains endearing pencil sketches (by Kelly Ulrich) for some chapters, which proves useful as the characters (all 13 of them) and sci-fi scenes would otherwise be left to your imagination.
That said, the book isn’t for the square or dull.
Will Albert and crew finally get back home and figure out what happened to get them there? There’s only one way to find out for sure.The book is available online. For more info, visit www.theintrepidtrucker.com
Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface