Upside Downside – Review

Science Fiction & Fantasy Review, No. 4, May 1982, p. 23

Goulart, Ron. Upside Downside. DAW, BY, January 1982. 186 p. $2.2S, paper.

Zack Tourney has learned he has been murdered. His employer, the FPA (Federal Police Agency), has discovered that, along with the half dozen owners of America, Zack has contracted a virus which causes rapid aging, with no known antidote. The FPA suspects there is a plot afoot to take control of the country, and Zack, the only unimportant victim, will waste away as a guinea pig in an attempt to save the more worthy.

Zack, the FPA’s top agent, would rather spend his time discovering who murdered him, and manages to escape from FPA control. His investigation takes him to Chezneyswamp(R)[companion enterprises to Chezneyworld(R), Chezneystate(R), Chezneyland(R), and Walt Chezney Flop Houses (R)], the Arabian Alps, and Space Colony number 27 — done in Frontier Style, complete with stagecoaches. Eventually Zack’s suspicions include even Timpany Quarls, his girl friend and the daughter of the Downside Fried Tempeh tycoon. Timpany claims innocence, but admits to doubts about her father…

As with most of Goulart’s work, Upside Downside features a large cast of nutty robots, oddball characters and strange cultists. Since the novel isn’t depressing, it probably can’t classify as “serious” SF, and should be read for fun — which it is. — Lawrence I. Charters

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