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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:

Joaquin Phoenix, Leaf Phoenix


Stand By Me

Stephen King

The Body

Eric Luke

Wolfgang Muller

Ben Crandall

Darren Woods


Sigmund Freud

Explorers Novel

George Gipe
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français


by George Gipe.
First published in 1985.

ISBN 0-671-60173-3 (Paperback, 254 Pages)

Whilst Stephen King's The Body was the inspiration for the later film Stand By Me, it's the other way around with this novel which is based on Eric Luke's screenplay for the movie Explorers. Even so, both books achieve the same result - splendidly extending and filling out the storyline of each movie.

It is somewhat difficult though to figure out who author George Gipe aims his book at, as it's obviously way beyond the reading capabilities of the age group for which the movie is intended.

   Wolfgang Muller's dream was less ethereal than that of his friend Ben, although Sigmund Freud might have had some fun analyzing it. In it, he was walking the familiar corridors of school when he suddenly noticed that his left shoe was missing. Stopping, he looked back down the hallway but could see no sign of the shoe. At about the same time, he discovered that his shirt was gone. Ducking behind a locker, he pondered his dilemma even as more items of clothing mysteriously disappeared from his body, leaving no clue as to their whereabouts.
   "What's going on?" he muttered.
   An inner urgency warned him that he had to continue moving down the hallway despite his situation. Bent over nearly double, he therefore resumed his walking, crab-style, past dozens of students who, strangely, seemed completely unaware of his rapidly approaching nakedness. Finally, near the end of the corridor, he possessed not a stitch of clothing. He ducked into the bathroom just as the bell rang.
   Except that it was not the school bell. It was the buzzer of his walkie-talkie.

The author does a superb job of building upon the movie's storyline and padding out all of the characters as well. For example, the reader is introduced to the rest of the Crandall household whilst we learn that Ben himself hopes for nothing more than to spend a week at, of all places, the Alabama Space and Rocket Center's "Space Camp."

Leaf Phoenix as "Max" in the
1986 movie Space Camp

This is indeed, a truly fantastic book. Reading it, completely immersed, and totally caught up in the adventures of Ben, Wolfgang and Darren, one is reminded of time when, as a young child, even though the world seemed a little confusing at times, life itself seemed much fairer, a time when it made altogether much more sense.

   Now at least, Ben had a nucleus of a plan. If the force field and Wolfgang appeared for the briefest moment, he would pull the power plug on the computer. That would send everything back to square one - he hoped. But even as he devised and congratulated himself on the idea, a new fear entered his mind. There could be only so much air trapped inside the force field. If Wolfgang didn't get out soon, he was in danger of asphyxiation and a horrible death.
   "Come on," he breathed. "Come back, damn it, just for a second!"
   As he spoke, his finger slipped and struck a digit on the computer keyboard. Darren, reconciled to his earlier fear that Ben was no expert with the computer, stared straight ahead with dread in his eyes. He had known Wolfgang only a few days, but during that brief time had done a complete U-turn on his feelings for the brainy little guy. He hadn't liked him much at first and he felt a twinge of guilt for that. Now he realized what Wolfgang was worth, both as a budding scientist and a person. It was a tragedy that he should be cheated out of what promised to be a very productive life.

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