Clockwork Strange: Into The Whirlwind by Dale McInnes

Story Summary:

A North American novel inspired by Karel Zeman’s 1955 children’s classic tale Cesta Do Praveku Our first novel begins in 1943 with the disappearance of nine children and their three puppies on a prairie farm when they discover a door to long extinct alien worlds. Their story is one of awe and exploration. It is told as two simultaneous stories, one of the repercussions on the family farm community 25 years later, and the other of how the children struggle to survive their first alien environmental ice age encounter. It is the very first time that the concept of ‘deep time’ will be told through the eyes of children [for both the children and the young adults] and kept as scientifically accurate as a good story can be told. This is the North American Debut of a prehistoric ALICE IN WONDERLAND chronicle of deep time, wherein WONDERLAND is as real as the children who tumble into it.

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San Francisco Book Review:

From an author who had experienced the open space needed for a child’s imagination to truly blossom while growing up on a farm in Manitoba, Canada, Clockwork Strange: Into the Whirlwind by Dale McInnes is the first of a series of science fiction books that children will, no doubt, enjoy. Adults, meanwhile, shouldn’t hesitate to read this book at all. It brings back long-slumbering memories of a time when magic was indeed a possibility.

Albert Morley, a man of the early-to-middle twentieth century, is a crazy man, according to some. His sister-in-law isn’t overly fond of him, but really the only thing that’s wrong with him is that he had experienced something extraordinary as a child thanks to a mysterious caboose. For twenty years, Albert had been gone. Nothing had changed upon his return. Now, years later, the caboose has done it’s magic again. Nine kids and three little dogs vanish, never to be seen again.

What happened to these kids and their three little dogs reaches many ears, but what many don’t know is that these kids have been taken to a world and time where everything is big and dangerous. Cats, wolves, mammoths–everything’s big. Armed with writings that can be found in Albert’s diary, the kids have to figure out a way to survive.

Of the nine kids, Daniel assumes the leadership role. When important decisions have to be made, his voice is the one that will most likely be heard. The puppies are out of harm’s way most of the time. The kids use the knowledge from what they see as an added tool to survive. They learn to adapt to their surroundings and do what it takes to survive even when the decisions they have to make become as tough as the mammoth hides they have to cut from mammoth carcasses. Children will love the characters in this book for their bravery in the face of terrifying circumstances and will learn a thing or two about teamwork and smart strategies to fend of predators of the wild.

I did like what the author primarily tried to do and that was to write a story so that readers could experience the less technologically-ridden world of the 1930s to 1950s through the eyes of a child. Childhood is filled with magic. McInnes scatters it about freely in this book. My wish is that McInnes made the absence of the kids more emotionally relatable as we do get to follow the Morley clan back in the real world in the years after the incident with the caboose.

Reviewed By: Benjamin Ookami

About the Author

Born in the exact center of the North American continent in Winnipeg, Canada. Brutally cold in winter. Unrelentingly stifling in summer. Dale spent his first 9 years on a farm with a wildlife sanctuary just outside the small hamlet of La Riviere, 100 miles South of Winnipeg.

As a small boy of 4, a Nature lover, he fell in love with the tales of giant dragons lying about on an escarpment overlooking the prairies barely 25 miles from the farm. It was his 1st introduction to the concept of deep time.

When he was 5, Kelloggs introduced him to dinosaurs. By 6, Karel Zeman’s 1955 film “Cesta do Praveku” had set the final path for him to take into dinosaur palaeontology. At 12, from his uncle’s CPR train station platform, he would throw his palaeo gear onto the caboose from a passing freight train, race down the tracks and leap onto the rear railcar’s coupler, stash his gear and climb up on top of the caboose to get to that escarpment where the fossil marine dragons beckoned.

At 19, he was already employed at some of Canada’s finest museums. He was the first to join Philip Currie’s budding dinosaur program in 1970s Alberta. 1986 saw his last year employed effectively in museum palaeontology.

He became self employed creating baby dinosaur exhibits in Calgary. He was instrumental in developing never before heard of sculpturing, moulding and casting techniques still unknown in the field of palaeontology. They surpass the HD quality of silicone rubbers and reduce the costs of building exhibits by 99%.


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