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C.J. HENDERSON
Quantum Leap: Double or Nothing


click to enlarge

Boxtree, London, 1995
(price: 4.99; 214 pages)

dedication: With due gratitude and humble thanks to: Ginjer Buchanan, editor-of-patience, and Ashley McConnell, who Understood


The blurb on the back:

IT IS A DANGEROUS DOSE OF DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR SAM BECKETT!
It is a bad leap.
The most disturbing leap Sam has ever experienced.
A leap so confusing that Al and Ziggy cannot locate Sam. All of Ziggy's biological computer programs have been broken apart, split down the middle ... And the reason?
Sam has leapt into Ward Ralston, a selfish, brutal truck driver AND into the body of Ward's twin brother and exact polar opposite, Mark, a self-sacrificing, gentle professor and environmental activist.
The brothers have not spoken to one another for fifteen years. But now, by a bizarre and deadly twist of fate, their paths are about to cross inextricably with catastrophic consequences involving unstable nuclear warhead dumping and corporate dirty dealing.
And Sam is caught right in the middle...


Quantum Leap was one of the few genuine triumphs of American TV in the 1990s. In case you missed it (do yourself a favour and check it out on one of the digital channels), Scott Bakula played the wonderfully named Dr Sam Beckett who had got lost whilst working on a time travel project. Every week he found himself transported into someone else's body, having to deal with a critical moment in their life and resolve a conflict. Once he'd sorted the problem, he made another 'leap' into another body. The constraints on the show were pretty tight - the time span covered was limited by Beckett's own life (i.e. from the early-1950s onwards), whilst the geography seldom extended beyond America - and it all got pretty formulaic pretty soon. Nonetheless, Bakula was so much fun and his relationship with his holographic accomplice, Al Calavicci (played by Dean Stockwell) so relaxed, that it all hung together.

So we come to this book and I don't know. It's the twelfth novel in the Quantum Leap series from Boxtree, so the things must have been selling okay, but it really doesn't work. As far as I understand it, this is an entirely new story, not an adaptation from the TV show, but that in itself doesn't matter: the formula is easy enough to work with. More to the point, without Bakula and Stockwell to make something of it, there's nothing much there. I wouldn't bother, really.

NOTE: I know it's not particularly relevant, but I'd like to mention the fact that - in my less than humble opinion - Enterprise with Scott Bakula as Captain Archer is the best of all the Star Trek series.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
1/5


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