novel, Stewart Parks introduces us to Bob Pilhaus, a radical,
24-year-old surfer/hippie/ intellectual, a southern California refugee
from the ‘60s, a lost soul, desperately searching for meaning
peace of mind in 1972. Stoned and alone on a train to Biarritz, hoping
for some soothing, autumn waves on the Bay of Biscay, he tries to
ingratiate himself with a beautiful young woman in the dining
car—a French-Canadian named Esmeralda. She turns out to be
far more than she appears, and Beep gets much more than he
for in the process.
Parks takes us on an unforgettable trip through a cosmic time-trap, a surprising journey back in time, towards the ultimate answers BP seeks to the Really Big Questions regarding consciousness, truth, tube-riding, and the nature of the universe....
Download and read a free preview of the first 2 chapters of Beep! in a PDF file here!
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Beep! was selected to compete in the semifinal competition for Amazon.com's 2009 "Breakthrough Novel Award", as one of the top 500 of 10,000 entries in the contest, and advance review copies have been available to the press since September, 2009. It is available at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle editions. The formal book launch took place on May 13, 2010 at the California Surf Museum in Oceanside, CA.
Sherry Seethaler, author of Lies, Damned Lies and Science (FT Press), and columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, said:
"Beep! is a coming of age story with a twist, set against the tumultuous backdrop of the 1960s. As the book's flawed hero seeks to redeem himself, local San Diego history, happenings on the national scene, the evolution of surf culture, physics and philosophy are woven together in this original and enjoyable tale."
The Midwest Book Review says:
"Taking a unique spin on the concept of time travel and living one's life differently, Beep! is a fascinating and highly entertaining read that shouldn't be missed."
A Note from the Author:
My purpose in writing this book was inspired by a passage in the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s A Precocious Autobiography—“Poetry, if it's genuine, is not a racing car rushing senselessly around and around a closed track; it is an ambulance rushing to save someone." I believe in the old saying that "The message is what separates a story from a lie." My message is for the alienated and marginalized youth of today, looking for a ray of hope in a confusing world, as well as seekers of all ages looking for existential answers. I wanted to write the book I wish I could have found and read as a teenager, or a young college student.
Most of all, I wanted to fashion a story that would both entertain and inform, while eliciting some self-examination of the reader’s most closely held beliefs. I fear that the conflict between science and spirituality has reached a serious state of impasse in our world, with severely unproductive consequences. We have scientists declaring religiosity as delusional, and Christian fundamentalists denying the factual evidence of evolution. Jewish and Christian believers are aligning against radical Islamic fundamentalists in a spreading, worldwide conflagration. I am struck by the parallels between the Vietnam War and our current conflicts in the Middle East, and wanted to use a narrative set in the social upheaval of the 1960s counterculture to point at the recurrent hypocrisy, materialism, corruption, and malaise of our American social and political reality.
I believe a middle ground must be found, to move the world towards peace and unity. Through the voice of my heroine, Esmeralda, I attempt to present a path, a cosmological model following the latest notions of quantum physics, string and M-Theory, which might provide an insight and worldview to turn us away from separateness and chaos. The key to such understanding can be found in the element of 'time,' I believe, which is the central issue of Beep! Beyond the Frogpond and Back.
I have wondered for many years about the true nature of ‘time.’ I was always taught that it is a fourth dimension, a fundamental element of duration embedded in the fabric of our three spatial dimensions—the “space-time continuum,” but is there more to it? The ability to perceive time is certainly not as straightforward as our perception of space. I began to wonder if human consciousness might evolve at some point to include a sense of time as complete and unambiguous as that of space, allowing us to understand and even manipulate it in similar ways.
This notion became the basis for the character of Esmeralda, the heroine of my novel. She is an “evolved” human being, who meets the namesake character, Beep a radical, 24-year-old surfer/hippie/intellectual, in 1972 on a train from Rome to Paris. Beep is running from the law, at the end of his rope, stoned and nearly suicidal, desperately searching for meaning, redemption and peace of mind. Upon his request, Esmeralda sends him back in time to relive the last twelve years of his life, with his memory and knowledge intact. His fervent hope is that he can undo all his previous mistakes, but the reality of his experience is far different. Thus, my novel becomes a “coming of age (with a cosmic time-trap twist)” story, as Beep lives his life from the time he is twelve years old until he meets Esmeralda again, through the tumultous decade of the '60s.
As a lifelong surfer and student of philosophy and cosmology, I utilized an underlying theme of surfing, presenting a unique view into that majestic sport for the uninitiated, without promoting the usual, one-dimensional, "Spicolian" characterization of the surfing life, and included an "element of the strange within a context of the familiar" which was a hallmark of Franz Kafka's work. It is a story of hope and redemption in the end, leading to a climax which attempts to reconcile spirituality and science, mind and matter, in a way that I hope may help us find unity and peace. We desperately need to achieve the kind of understanding that can deliver us from our notions of separateness and annihilation. As John Muir said: "Tug on anything at all and you'll find it connected to everything else in the universe."
--Stewart "you can call me Stewball" Parks