More Book Reviews: The Teleportation Accident, What the Family Needed

By | May 14, 2013

Two literary novels with a sci-fi angle that are more interesting than truly successful…


The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman…This book has already been described as a “cult hit,” which means that most people probably won’t like it very much. Sadly, I’m in that category. It is occasionally brilliant (a man in 30’s Germany wonders about teleportation…and why he can’t get laid) but it’s mostly unfocused and unsatisfying. Even the great satirists have to make a sharp point every once and a while. It’s very funny, but also a little too stuffy for a cult hit, and a little too slapdash for master satire…Grade: B-


What the Family Needed by Steven Amsterdam…A book about a family where the different members have super abilities, but even describing it that way is very misleading. A simple question “would you rather fly or be invisible?” is echoed out through the decades as the different members develop a power during a crucial time. This is really literary fiction with light, light shades of fantasy. [If you skip the wrong paragraph, you might not even get there are any superpowers in this book.] The book is lean at only 260-odd pages, and you won’t feel disappointed if you fully invest in this family, but I wish the family in question was a bit more special. It’s an odd problem to have in a book revolving around invisibility, but the characters just never suck you in like they should…Grade: B

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