by Chuck Champlin
Authors Press

"There’s a crying need to say something, be something. Take it, world! Do something with it!"

Set in the 1980s, Champlin's narrative examines a world of infinite possibilities. Fast forward to the present, and few can retroactively peek back to the '80s and conjure such a technologically advanced world as today. However, the innovative minds were there and most likely understood that it was just a matter of time before a major breakthrough, such as the internet, would become a reality. Champlin's work was a submission to the Ted Turner Tomorrow Award Competition over thirty years ago (1989), yet its remnants and ideas are still relevant today. The magic of the wand lies in having a vision: a vision, or a multitude of them, is what it took to transport the globe from what can now be deemed the technologically prehistoric era to its golden age. Yet continued vision will build off this progress and take people in future generations to unexplored and fertile lands of mind and space.

At its core, the text uses the wand to symbolize unimaginable power and change through communication. Conjure the image of having the entire globe at one's fingertips in 1989 West Los Angeles, when gangs, drive-by shootings, and homelessness are rampant, and one might lose one's mind. Under this premise, the narrator and main character, Chris Walkman, has his evening randomly interrupted with correspondence suggesting that he could be instrumental in saving the world. All expenses will be paid if he comes to the Skyler building in downtown Los Angeles. Following an interaction with Mr. Hugo, Walkman feels like he is in the Twilight Zone. Still, the twenty thousand dollars cash before him is very real, as is the responsibility to make a difference with it.

In theory, Champlin's idea has the potential to form a utopian civilization where those that have monetary wealth give to those with intellectual wealth for the pure, unfiltered betterment of the world. It comes across as a perfectly simulated venture capitalist deal. The author, early on, establishes the use of the magic wand pens as a source of hope through the interaction between Walkman and John Fuller. Sprinkling in a bit of comic relief, Walkman attempts to inspire a homeless man, John, by giving him a pen and telling him to wish upon it. What starts out as a chaotic relationship, however, evolves into a collaborative partnership. Little by little, Walkman continues to grow his team, joining forces with others that share his "energy of innovation."

Within the whimsical nature of the narrator and the idealism of those he encounters like Ivan and Petra, the reader can see a direct survey of many elements of modern life, including, but not limited to, the complete neglect of the climate entrusted to humanity juxtaposed against the backdrop of capitalism. Ironically, many of the plights projected by this novel are prevalent in modern times. For instance, with the supply chain dilemma facing the globe, the questions asked by the narrative seem very fitting: "how do we make sure there's enough food to go around?" Further, the commentary on the magic wand being compared to the miracles of the Church is incredibly intriguing and ignites questions on faith versus vision.

With the involvement of television stations, the efforts of the Walkman team raise the stakes as they continue to aggregate idea makers determined to enact change. As the novel progresses deeper, the cast of characters becomes more and more intertwined. However, the imagery of the black magic wand branded pen is universal: change can happen with just a thought, some movement, and conviction. It is this powerful idea of change that Wand Enterprises represents—a promise for health and change in the world that makes for a refreshing and meaningful read.

Return to USR Home