“Black Table” by Anttimatti Pennanen

Black Table

Anttimatti Pennanen
Independently Published (2020)
ISBN: 9789529438044
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (11/2021)

Although I don’t have the numbers, considering how fast tickets sell out, I would assume Comic Con expos and events are one of the most sought-after journeys for die-hard comic/sci-fi fans to take. I personally love the costumes and the fanfare. From the grandiose events held in NYC to the Roswell Galacticon held in the UFO capital of the world, all are a whole lot of fun. Not to mention, the big stars that attend; from the days of Kirk and Spock to the more recent Hayden Christensen of Star Wars fame, these fests are truly exciting. Which is why when this incredible book began at a Comic Con and readers could “walk through” the sights and sounds with the two main characters, I was beyond thrilled.

Their names are Jon and Gus (think Bill & Ted here for a second), and their excellent adventure is to travel all the way from Finland to attend the Comic Con being held in Portland. These two ‘awesome dudes’ really get into the fanfare, arriving at the convention dressed in “Star Trek: Next Generation uniforms.” And, no…they did not forget the one-of-a-kind ears. They’re not only into the hullabaloo, but they are also looking forward to meeting one of the persons they’ve looked up to for a long time who will be appearing: Dr. Wells. Call it fate or call it tragedy, their icon suffers a heart attack at the convention, but not before shoving a book at Jon and Gus and telling them to go “find something.”

Like two good soldiers following orders from their hero, Jon and Gus end up going into the “unknown” where the unexplained awaits them. They will follow clues left behind by Dr. Wells, and the book’s information, and end up standing face-to-face with aliens, and a technology that the aliens own that works much like a time-transport machine.

They learn that there is a darkness coming across the land and it is headed straight for Earth. Using the Black Table device, Jon and Gus, and their new buddies met along the way, will travel between the alien world and the present attempting to halt the Swarm – which is the entity that’s doing its best to destroy all life in the universe. Now you’re talking about the blind leading the blinder, as Jon and Gus stumble while they try to understand this strange situation, as well as all the gifts the Black Table can give them on their path.

Jon, the guy who understands survival techniques, paired with Gus, who, much like Dr. Spock, is a techno wizard who searches for sanity and logic in everything they come up against, make for the perfect duo in this interstellar jaunt. And with the great job the author did of inserting well-known sci-fi references from TV shows and films, you can tell that this writer was “on board” at all times with the world he created. The Bill & Ted comment refers to the dudes who love fist-bumping and working together to save everything in the galaxy, even though they have no clue whatsoever what’s going on most of the time.

Add in the fact that, for once, every character is a “good” person – whether human or alien – and you have a read that is exciting, shows great unity, and causes you a little bit of heartbreak knowing, post-pandemic, that events, conferences and the job of just having fun was simple and brought joy to everyone. I give 5-stars to this one, gang, in every category. From the nerds to the pop-culture inserts to the fun storyline that involves the reader instantly, this author has done a heck of job. Best part? There is a Book 2 that’s just as great! Enjoy!

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