Ah, my friends! Today, I show you a wonder that takes my breath away! Come, behold and be bewildered at what lies beyond the tent entrance! Step off the Midway, and for two bits, I will take off my tall tall hat and join you in ecstatic awe.
What is it? What could steal the showman’s breath and leave him speechless? What freak of nature, what chip from the seven wonders, what creature from the stars could do such a thing?
Here it is, my friends:
A world completed.
You scoff, sir? And well you might! But this little volume takes me one final time to the world of Hannibal Fortune, Agent of T.E.R.R.A.
I know, I know. It says number two!
Why are you laughing, kid? You think I speak scatagorically? Well, Perhaps on occasion I have indulged in a crappy play on words to entice the ears of the toilet-minded, but that’s not what I marvel at today!
You see, for years I have toured this world of T.E.R.R.A. Many times I have walked with Hannibal Fortune as he foiled the plots of EMPIRE. Many times I have jumped into his time sphere to explore a new epoch and stop the meddling of evil trying to change history to their benefit. Many times have I chuckled at Fortune’s partner, Webley, as his sardonic humor takes in the situation.
And now… this volume. This glittering last voyage to a world I have laughed at and turned pages through. I have completed the collection. It is whole.
It is done.
True, the world lasted a mere four books. (Not counting some short stories I just now discovered. But let’s pretend for a moment, shall we? It looks like this might be like comparing The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. Both in the same world, but drastically different feels!)
It lasted a mere four books. I have imbibed of the other three. Devoured them, truly. And now one last serving. One last visit to this world I have enjoyed so much.
The world is complete.
I wish it were not.
Should I read this volume… I will have circumnavigated the globe that Larry Maddock created. I will have stepped foot in every syllable and explored every paragraph. Nothing will remain.
A world totally explored is a hollow world.
True, I can visit again. And given how many worlds I roam, I will not recall all the details, or honestly, maybe not many of them. But I will not only know how it ends; I will know how we achieve the ending. It is not the same as the first exploration of a new realm.
And so whenever I read this book… whenever I bring myself to lift my feet for one final adventure in the time sphere, it will be with a heavy heart. And in the end, I suspect I will feel like I do at the end of any good visit to a world when I know there is no more:
My heart broke when I first experienced that song. I see it affected you similarly, sir. Here, take my handkerchief. Use it. Don’t give it back. I don’t want your snot.
The voyage was done. The quest completed. There is a line in the novels that goes something like this: “Though eternally bound by friendship, the fellowship never gathered together again.” (Some Tolkien purist will correct me, and I thank him or her for it. You might even get your two bits back for this exhibit!)
That line… those partings… that goodbye…
I don’t want that world to end.
I don’t want my friends to leave me alone.
And yet, the ending has come. The world is complete. There is no more.
Tell me, friends, what worlds have you visited that left you hollow because they stole your heart? What series did you have to fight to complete, only to be left uncertain if you wanted to actually finish the voyage?
As for me… I have a world to visit one last time.
I hope to savor it.