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Review: 99 Days & 99 Days Later – Matt Converse

99 Days - Matt Converse

Genre: Sci-Fi

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

Get 99 Days On Amazon | Get 99 Days Later On Amazon

About The Books

99 Days

Life as we know it will never be the same.Flying saucers are spotted all over the world. But after one crashes into the San Francisco Bay, they disappear. Not far from the crash, Mitch rents his spare room to Claytone and quickly develops a crush. But what he doesn’t know is that Claytone will soon turn his world— and heart, upside down.Claytone’s final revelation will reach even further; it will change life on planet Earth— forever.

99 Days Later

While the world awaits the aliens’ return in 99 days, Mitch pines to see one alien in particular. Will Claytone return? If he does, is it crazy for Mitch to dream of a future with him? Will he pass the IQ test the aliens said they will mandate? One thing is certain: in 99 Days, planet Earth—and Mitch—will never be the same.

The Review:

I’m reviewing Matt Converse’s “99 Days” and “99 Days Later” together, because they belong together, and as a duo make one good-sized book. I’m also recommending that people buy both and read them consecutively.

These two books are clearly an homage to the legendary science-fiction film, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” which was produced in 1951 and re-booted with Keanu Reeves in 2008. Not only is there a chapter in “99 Days” called “The Day After The Earth Stood Still,” but the two main alien characters are Claytone and Nicktow, evoking the celebrated commant from the films, “Klaatubaradanikto.”

There’s a reason for this. The 99 Days duo expresses the same kind of anxiety and fear that the world felt in 1951 and in 2021. In the early 1950s, it was fear of Communism and nuclear war; while today that same level of social angst is focused on global violence and climate change. Underlying this calculated parallel on the part of the author, is the uncomfortable truth that, since 1951, while “things’ have gotten better, the human race seems to have gotten worse. The only people who don’t feel that way today are, in essence, at the root of the problem.

Mitch is an author living in San Francisco, presumably in his 30s. For some odd reason he feels that living alone in a five-room house is way too much space, and he decides to get a roommate to use the spare bedroom. A tall, oddly attractive guy shows up at the end of Mitch’s open house and introduces himself as Claytone. The young author’s instant attraction reminds us that this is, after all, a romantic comedy of sorts. That is the largest difference from Matt Converse’s agenda and that of the films.

The first book deals with Mitch’s growing awareness of his feelings for Claytone, even as he has to come to grips with the reality of who this tall, mysterious man truly is. What I particularly liked about this book is the odd disjunct between the increasingly unnerving sci-fi storyline, and the gentle, almost whimsical relationship narrative.

The book ends on the most massive cliffhanger ever written, so of course you have to buy it. Throughout the book, Converse writes with an oddly flat tone, almost as if he’s Jack Webb in the 1960s Dragnet TV series from my childhood. There’s also a tendency to repeat phrases in a way that suggests the readers are middle-schoolers who don’t pay attention and need to have things repeated so they get the point.

“99 Days Later” opens where the first book ends, and here again is a striking dichotomy. What we’re really talking about is an apocalypse – and a well-deserved apocalypse – because the people who actually control the human race can’t get their shit together. This taps very much into the way I feel right now, at least. The human race is so deeply committed to selfishness and hatred, we are in a quagmire that we can’t seem to get ourselves out of.  Up to this point, the philosophy of the books is more or less on the same page I am (as a deeply flawed human being).

Because I won’t do spoilers, let me just say that the solution, represented by the gentle, romantic alien Claytone and his seemingly emotionless robotic sidekick Nicktow, feels really off. I can’t describe it without spoiling the fun (and it is fun, in a kind of dark way); but there is an uncomfortably fascist tone that just made me enormously uncomfortable. The uncomfortable part is that these very harsh ideas have a certain appeal to me that makes me cringe. You’ll see.

The joke – if that’s what it is – is that “99 Days Later” is less about the apocalypse on earth than it is about Mitch’s relationship with Claytone. With all that happens in the second book; with all the questions raised; with all the moral dilemmas rising up, the attention is really focused on these two young men, one earthling and one alien, and how they feel about each other.

I’d like to have seen both of these books twice as long, with a lot more writing about what was going on to balance the genuinely lovely romance at the narrative’s core. The notion of a “love among the ruins” story is really charming, and Claytone is a memorable character. But I wanted to know more about the ruins.

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.

The Paranormal Romance Guild was established in 2009 by 8 Indie Authors and one Reviewer to be a constant help for authors. You can be a free author member, submitting your work for review OR become a Premium Author Member for a small yearly fee and enjoy many extra services including Free Beta Reads, Author Giveaways and many others. Your reviews are posted on our 3 FB Sites, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram. WE REVIEW ALL GENRES LGBTQ+ welcome.

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