Nostalgia in the future tense.
It is reasonable to assume the great majority of us have at least heard of the classic Frank Capra film, It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart. Likewise, most of us have, at one time or another, at least seen some version of a model train layout. This familiarity is important because both film and HO-scale trains are central to George Rothacker’s new novel. What the author has done is take that familiarity and propel it into very unfamiliar territory: namely, the future.
As the title proclaims, this version of IAWL occurs decades hence — in the year 2060. The fictional town of Bedford Falls is here in all its nostalgia, as are frequent references to people and sequences from the film. The original protagonist, the Jimmy Stewart role of George Bailey, is reimagined as Juniper Blakely. He is everyman in all respects except one. Blakley, an accomplished model railroad enthusiast, is driven to recreate the town of Bedford Falls, and all its nuances, in miniature using the emerging technology of 40 years from today, or more than a century after the original IAWL film debuted in 1949.
Juniper Blakley’s vehicle for the project is a model train layout, but not just any model train layout. This one is on steroids, fueled by robotic technology that is capable of mind-boggling simulations. The project becomes a deep-seated obsession to the detriment of his character, his marriage, his job and his friendships. Does the angel Clarence, as in the original IAWL, appear to save the day or, more to the point, to save Juniper? Therein lies the plot, and it is one worth seeing through to the end of this uniquely adapted story.
The book is relatively short (172 pages), makes for an easy read, and is punctuated, as is Rothacker’s fashion, with interesting chapter-heading graphics. This is a good novel to take on a trip because it rewards by taking you on a fascinating journey in return.
just finished reading “It’s a Wonderful Life - 2060” and thoroughly enjoyed it!!
While the story takes place in 2060, it remains intertwined with the story in the 1946 movie of the same name.
I'm amazed at George Rothacker's creativity and how he pulled these stories together. He must have had multiple storyboards going on in his head at the same time, sort of like chess games stacked on each other. And, this new work gently takes us into the world of robotic technology but does it in a plausible way.
All of the wonderful details show how thoroughly he researched and thought through each scene -- and how it aligned so well with the original screenplay and movie.
Reading this will make everyone want to pull out their old VHS copy of It's a Wonderful Life" or find a new digital version to watch as the holidays approach. This book will make everyone watch the movie more closely and enjoy new details… it will also surely expand the emotional impact and appreciation of the movie and Jimmy Stewart's performance!!
I also liked the parallel of the two stories and how a wonderful life is in reach of all of us if we try harder. It was grand at the end how the main characters, Juniper and Leonder, were able to give each other the freedom they each needed to make their marriage finally work!
This is another fine Rothacker book and a job well done!
It's a Wonderful Life 2060 is an interesting venture into life in the future. The author, George Rothacker, has a unique and hopeful concept that - although the times have changed and technology has become an overriding influence on people's lives - the basic nature of humans has not changed a great deal. He takes the 1940's character of George Bailey and the 2060 character of Juniper Blakely and builds an interesting story of how one person can influence and change the lives of many.
I just finished this book in two sittings because I couldn’t put it down!
The author, George Rothacker has always been very creative in his earlier books, and this was no exception.
I think that anyone who treasures the original Jimmy Stewart movie will thoroughly enjoy this and likely want to watch it again and probably find even more depth in its wonderful message of hope and persistence.