Leisure suits! Muscle cars! An annoyingly ethical alien! Social justice radicals! Time-traveling terrorist music critics! Just like Jane Austen used to write! Why couldn’t Alan be cool like people in the ‘70s? After breaking up with his girlfriend Sheila and unsatisfyingly teaching English in South Korea, he befriends an alien grad student, Coff, who lets him time-travel to swingin’ 1967 England to live out his retro-boogie fantasy. But now 70 years old in Edmonton, Canada, Alan takes a chance in meeting Sheila again to confess his past, causing problems in time that Coff will need more than Fleetwood Mac and fuzzy dice to fix. When time-flow conflicts result in them being harassed by university radicals and half-real fictional characters out to prevent Starship from recording “We built this city” in 1985, Alan, Coff, and Sheila must travel to a San Francisco disco in 1979 for a final showdown against the time-terrorists. Shorter of Breath is an enjoyable romp through expat life in Korea, retro 70’s culture and music, and Canadiana. Just remember: Never insult donuts or Rush.
Shorter of Breath is the first novel by Ken Eckert, who is a native of Edmonton, Canada living in South Korea. As an English professor most of his writing is academic, including articles on medieval romance, Chaucer, and (post)modern literature, with a recently published book, Middle English Romances in Translation (Sidestone, 2015). He is an alumnus of Memorial University in Newfoundland and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he studied Chaucer alongside creative writing students such as Alissa Nutting (Tampa) and Juan Martinez (Best Worst American).
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