Door Number Three

Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 18, 1997

Door Number Three by Patrick O’Leary

Our February 18 book, Patrick O’Leary’s Door Number Three, was chosen in an unusual manner. Last summer at the WorldCon in LA, I kept bumping into this strange fellow at nearly every program item I attended (panel, reading, signing, kaffeeklatsch, you name it). We finally introduced ourselves, and it turned out that the guy’s name was Patrick O’Leary, his first novel had just been published, and he was attending his first WorldCon. Patrick seemed to be a nice guy, and he and I obviously shared many of the same tastes, so I lobbied for the Reading Group to read his book.

Six folks showed up for the discussion of Door Number Three. The plot is very intricate and is best enjoyed if you don’t know much in advance, but I will mention a few elements: Catholicism, time travel, psychology, Esther Williams, jello, The Grateful Dead, and nuclear holocaust. We all liked the book and admired the author’s ambitious plot, but some felt the story got too confusing toward the end. As one person put it, “he probably didn’t think he was writing science fiction when he started the book…” We particularly admired O’Leary’s skill with characterization, and felt that he embued all his characters with interesting personalities. We all saw why Willie Siros dubbed this book the “best first novel of 1995.”

–A. T. Campbell, III