Penny Perkins

"Bob Bridges, an apocalyptic fable"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark NOV 26, 1999)

Bob Bridges, an apocalyptic fable by Penny Perkins

It's just after labor day 1998 when we meet Bob Bridges. Bob is a very bright (indeed "one of the brightest in an industry that congratulates itself on its unusually bright minds") computer programmer assigned to fix Y2K bugs. He works for SIMS (Super Information Management Systems) in his adopted hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. SIMS has many government contracts including the Department of Defense and Bob has a lot of concerns about the magnitude of the Y2K problem. Having been ignored by management so far, he sets out to write the "mother of all e-mail" and soon thereafter finds himself unemployed.

But this is only the beginning of the fable. Bob does indeed find out about the fate of the human species when Cock, a cockroach from the future, visits him that evening. Cock requests that Bob travel to the future where cockroaches now rule a radiation soaked Earth and help solve a mystery about the long-extinct human species. Bob, realizing that there isn't much future in staying, goes with Cock. Of course, living in a cockroach infested future isn't easy for Bob, but fortunately there is chocolate. And what about the mystery that Bob had to solve for the cockroaches? When I got to the end of the story all I could say was "perfect!" - humorous and dead serious to the very end.

Penny Perkins is one of those rare writers that can turn something as frightening as humanity's impending demise into an offbeat entertaining, very quotable, tale. It is really fun to read because of the way she mixes up magazine articles, poetry, and "unexpected memory breaks" and plays with fonts and writing styles breaking out of the typical 19th century style novel. The medium may appear light, but the message is not. The story is based on "technical data and scientific conjectures that reflect our current understanding of the makeup of reality". This she injects with a spiritual consciousness that makes Y2K the least of our immediate concerns.

So don't worry if can't read this book before the start of the new millennium, the message goes way beyond the Y2K programming bugs. In fact, I'd say that you have until 2012 - but I wouldn't wait that long to read this chastise on humanity and the way we've treated this planet.

  • Amazon reader rating: from 41 reviews


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About the Author:

Penny Perkins was born in Vandalia, Illinois in 1962. Penny PerkinsShe attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT, receiving an honors degree in philosophy. She also holds a Masters in English from the State University of New York at Albany. She has been a professional writer from more than 15 years, working in a variety of nonprofit agencies and holding several freelance positions. She was also the resident expert on Alternative Media for The Mining Co. (now called About.com), posting weekly commentaries on the media. Bob Bridges is her first novel. She is currently working on a second novel and a screenplay.

She lives in Albany, New York and is the creative director for Alpha Omega Services.

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