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Charles Turner brought this First Word to the meeting on November 17, 2008.

Kusa Trilogy

I'd like to do a book report- though I'm not sure a book report is appropriate for First Word. But I realized many people have not read Mike Huber's trilogy.

I have two problems with this book report: First, I never finished the last book, and second I can't seem to find my copy. Mike denies having written it, and I can't find it on Amazon or at Annie Bloom's. But I'm going to do a book report anyway.

It is called The Kusa Trilogy, published by the Maplewood Press. The first book is called 'Humor and History.'

Pan Wiktor was a clerk in an East Bloc country. His job was to tabulate crushed stone used in construction of a motorway. He worked in a plain concrete building in a row of concrete buildings. When he started working there the people he worked with were always pleasant enough, but he never had too much to say to them, or they to him. He sometimes thought of funny things but didn't feel like he could say anything.

To help remember his jokes for later he invented some mental exercises. He invented first a memory palace where each room had items that helped him remember a joke. Soon it was a whole land of make believe, with cities and farms and wilderness. It was full of people, too, with city people, farmers and kings and queens. There were storms and battles and plagues of locusts. The whole thing took on a life of its own. Pan Wiktor really wasn't inventing it any more.

The second book is called 'The Melchisadek Mind-Meld.' In this Pan Wiktor meets a man who calls himself Doradca. The guy is really nice - he listens to everything Pan Wiktor has to say, and he tells great stories. Some of the stories are funny, and all of them have a depth that gets Pan Wiktor thinking. Doradca takes Pan Wiktor up a hill. There was a kind of metal stand, and on it was a crystal or maybe more of a prism. There was light coming from the prism - brilliant, almost dazzling but not enough to hurt Pan Wiktor's eyes. It lit up the surrounding hills. Pan Wiktor looked very carefully into the glass, and in there, amongst the color fringes and reflections, he could see everyone he knew. Pan Wiktor noticed light reflecting off himself, of a slightly different color and type, back into the prism. He recalled his class in Functional Analysis and Spectral Theory long before and realized the light coming from each unique person joined to make the most perfect light of all. 'A countably infinite set of unique basis vectors,' Pan Wiktor said to himself, incredulous, 'with every one needed to describe all the dimensions to the light.'

In the third book, called 'Meme Rising,' Pan Wiktor finds he can see this amazing light every day in the people around him - his family, his co-workers and even in strangers. And somehow everyone seemed friendlier. He tried telling some about the light on the stand, but he seemed to lose them when he got to the basis vectors. But he found it worked just to listen to their stories, and to help with things when he could. He even helped some strangers. One day, when he got to work, there was some guy sleeping under a blanket in the parking lot. Worried he might get run over and also thinking the guy might wake up hungry, Pan Wiktor bought a roll at a nearby bakery, got some tea from his office and woke the guy up. Pan Wiktor could see the sparkle in the guy's eyes when he woke up to breakfast. Another time, on a hot afternoon, he got some water for a woman in fancy business clothes.

One strange thing Pan Wiktor noticed was his co-workers seemed to be enjoying working with each other more all the time. 'This is a great place to work,' they would say. One day they announced 'Potluck after work today!' Pan Wiktor protested that he didn't have anything to bring and they said 'Don't worry, come anyway. There will be plenty of food.'

And there was plenty. There were all kinds of things to eat. There were all kinds of people there, too. Not only his co-workers and their families, Pan Wiktor's family and strangers were there too. The guy from the parking lot was there and he'd brought a huge basket of bread. The woman in the business clothes was there and had brought all sorts of things to drink. They had one of the best meals Pan Wiktor had ever had.

So, I recommend this trilogy. I can't wreck the ending for you because I haven't read the ending yet. I remember thinking it was the kind of book that might have a really happy ending, or a really sad ending, or a really weird ending. So if you find a copy you can tell me how it turns out.

The best thing would be if we read the ending together.