Damaged Beyond All Recognition

January 1, 2018
GenreHumor, Romance, Science Fiction
Audience Adult
Format Book Length Manuscript
Type General Fiction
Word Count 80-100k (average)

Editing, Production, Marketing & Sales

Edited by Mark E. Stevens
Cover design by Cindy Swanson
Published Through Amazon Createspace – KDP
Marketed by Melanie Rockett
Additional services through Amazon Kindle Scout

Reviewed on June 18, 2018

Review by Lynne Hinkey

The Rundown

In the early 1970s, counterculture writer Paul Tomenko is a rising star who has it all: a huge fan base, a supportive publisher, and a brand-new diploma from University of Colorado. But at a cost. He had to give up the love of his life, Maggie Mae Monahan, so she could pursue her goal of becoming the “world’s best geneticist.” Heartbroken, Paul heads for the seclusion of the mountains only to have a fatal(-ish) car crash. In death, he has a run-in (literally) with God before being whisked back into his body to continue with his life.

In a twist of fate—there are many in this book–Paul’s publisher hires the woman who caused his accident to be his secretary. Allie Briarsworth is an aspiring writer with unnaturally sensitive intuition. Of course, they fall in love, putting Paul in an awkward position, having sworn eternal fidelity to Maggie Mae.

Because of his run in with God, Paul is chosen to solve a problem God has: Human souls aren’t moving on in the afterlife. With no souls moving up to higher Planes of Existence (POEs), no one has reached the highest plane, meaning there are no candidates to take God’s place when the time comes. And it’s coming fast.

Paul, Allie, and Maggie Mae have to join forces to unravel the mystery and restore order to the universe.

If solving that metaphysical quandary sounds like a tall order, adding in two romances, a love triangle, space aliens, Neanderthals, and a whole bunch of 70s and 80s pop culture references to the mix makes it even more challenging. Felyk manages to juggle all of that into a coherent narrative, but the overall effect is of too many balls in the air to keep them all going. Although none are dropped, the pacing is uneven and clunky. Elaborate and critical plot points that need detail and depth are glossed over, while more obvious but less important subplots are rehashed in detail.

Felyk’s take on what goes on from the time of one Big Bang until the universe collapses in on itself and starts all over–or what’s supposed to go on but didn’t, in this case–is thought- and laugh-provoking. A focused editing effort to reduce redundancy, keep the important details front-and-center, and eliminate some unnecessary subplots and unimportant characters would take this story from good to great.

The Recommendation

Readers who enjoy science fiction with a humorous and slightly irreverent bent will enjoy this fun tale with a unique take on metaphysics, cosmology, and religion. The universe and characters Felyk has created are thought- and laugh-provoking. The sometimes convoluted and unevenly paced plot might hinder those looking for a fast, easy read.

The Rating Selected as a Top Pick!

Top Pick! 5 Stars (out of five): Freaking amazing. Any agent or publishing house that passed this one up made a big mistake. It was selected by our reviewer as a personal favorite. This is also a nomination for our Novel of the Year award.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Characterization, Dialogue, Plot, Strong World-Building
Cons: Plot Sometimes Jumpy, Slow in Places

Author’s Summary

Paul Tomenko is no stranger to the improbable. He became a magazine sweepstakes winner and renowned 1960s counterculture writer by age 19. Now he’s traveling to and from God’s library somewhere outside the Universe to prevent the end of eternity. And if his task wasn’t hard enough, he must enlist the help of his two lovers—Maggie Mae Monahan and Allie Briarsworth—because of their unique abilities. But the trio discovers the preservation of forevermore can turn someone’s soul inside out. Literally.

The novel chronicles the life of an ordinary man under extraordinary circumstances. Paul is unwilling to accept a broken Afterlife that provides nothing more than eternal self-awareness. He is also reluctant to choose between Maggie Mae, a brilliant geneticist who has the uncanny ability to “connect the dots,” and Allie, a novelist who inexplicably senses past and future events in the cosmos. The unexpected is to be expected from an unusual cast of supporting characters: Cher the Gatekeeper and Katharine Ross the Librarian, figments patterned after two celebrities for whom Paul has lusted; Gronk and Grita, two “resurrected” six-year-old neo-Neanderthals who are the most intelligent humans on Earth; Tsutomu Yamaguchi, an innovative bioengineer named after a Japanese man who survived nuclear bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and Dr. Peter Lexington Townshend, the head of a genetics laboratory that already has prevented the Russians from stripping politicians in Washington, D.C., of all their memories.

Damaged Beyond All Recognition is a unique blend of science fiction, romance, and humor travels the roadways paved by such literary stalwarts as Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Christopher Moore. And along the way, the novel examines our metaphysical questions with a mixture of mind-bending possibilities, laughter, and tears.

Short Description

Paul Tomenko knows about the improbable. A sweepstakes winner and renowned counterculture writer by age 19, he’s traveling to God’s library to preserve eternity. If that wasn’t hard enough, his two lovers must become involved as well. But the trio discovers the job can turn someone’s soul inside out. Literally.


A love triangle fights to preserve eternity

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