Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars
||This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary. It should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (June 2009)|
|Genre||Science fiction, Young adult novel|
|Published||1979 (E. P. Dutton)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||248 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-525-25360-2 (first edition, hardback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.P6335 Al 1979|
Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars is a novel by Daniel Pinkwater, published in 1979.
The story is about a portly boy named Leonard Neeble moving from his old neighborhood to West Kangaroo Park, Hogboro. There Leonard goes to a new school, Bat Masterson Junior High. Leonard's life at his new junior high is just barely tolerable until he becomes friends with the unusual Alan and with him shares an extraordinary adventure.
The bullying results in his grades falling off. The school counselor refers him to a child psychologist, Dr. Prince. With Dr. Prince, Leonard takes up smoking cigars. While well-meant, his hit and miss methods eventually enable Leonard to get him to give him a week off from school. He spends this time with Alan, who has been suspended after he tells students that he is a Martian, touching off a riot.
Together they take a trip to Hogboro where the two meet Samuel Klugarsh, owner of an occult bookstore, who claims to have developed a course of psychic training called "Klugarsh Mind Control." Samuel Klugarsh sells the two friends a kit for learning how to produce "Ω (Omega) waves," a type of brain waves supposedly generated when one meditates one's way into the mental state known as "State Twenty-Six."
Leonard and Alan soon learn how to go into State Twenty-Six, but all they can make others do is take off their hats and rub their bellies and sometimes dance. The friends get tired of mind-control and go back to Samuel Klugarsh's store for a refund.
Instead of what the two wanted, Samuel Klugarsh lets Leonard and Alan trade in their mind-control set for a course in "Hyperstellar Archaeology," the study of lost civilizations such as Atlantis, Lemuria, or Waka Waka, along with a copy of Yojimbo's Japanese-English Dictionary. Alan and Leonard are skeptical of the course's wild claims and predictions until they unexpectedly find a prediction in the text mentioning them both by name. They start to take the book more seriously, and when they follow its directions for interpreting Yojimbo's Japanese-English Dictionary, they get better results with their telekinesis and mind control experiments.
Later, the two boys run into Samuel Klugarsh and Dr. Prince at the Bermuda Triangle Chili Parlor. Their conversation is overheard by a biker who happens to be Clarence Yojimbo, the (Venusian) author of Yojimbo's Japanese-English Dictionary. Clarence is passing through town with his biker-gang of folk singers, The Knights of Power, and he sets them straight on the real secret purpose of Yojimbo's Japanese-English Dictionary: when decoded with the proper key, it is an instruction manual for travelling among different planes of existence.
The two learn how to do this and go to Waka-Waka, via a disused oriental garden in Hogboro. There they discover that the fleegix-obsessed people of Waka-Waka are being ruled by three cruel Nafsulians: Manny, Moe and Jack who pretend to be a deadly invisible monster, the Wozzle. Alan Mendelsohn and Leonard Neeble are able to expose the three Nafsulians and make them take off their hats and rub their bellies, which just happens to be the Nafsulian gesture of submission. They cannot take back the gesture so they have to relinquish control of Waka-Waka.
While in Waka-Waka Leonard learns that Alan really is a Martian. In the Waka-Waka plane of existence Martians travel to and from the Earth plane, so Alan is able to let Rolzup, the Martian High Commissioner, know that his family is stranded on Earth and arrange for them to be taken back to Mars. Alan and Leonard then go back to West Kangaroo Park where Alan is picked up by a spaceship.
Leonard, after recovering from the shock of losing his best friend, begins to follow in Alan's footsteps by studying independently, showing up the teachers during classes, and participating in an alternative gym class where they play chess or do yoga.
Leonard eventually decides to throw a party at the Bermuda Triangle Chili Parlour. He meets Samuel Klugarsh there and Klugarsh gives Leonard a letter from Alan Mendelsohn. Alan says that Leonard can come visit him in "the Bronx, if you know what I mean," for the summer.
Alan Mendelsohn is no longer in print as a separate work, but can be found in Pinkwater's omnibus 5 Novels (1997).
- Ann Haskell, in The New York Times Book Review - "The writing is adequate, no more, no less. But for imaginative plot and decorative detail, Mr. Pinkwater's scores go off the charts."
- Orson Scott Card, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - Highly recommends Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars.
- Cory Doctorow (13 April 2010). "Bibliography". Little Brother. Tom Doherty Associates. p. 380. ISBN 978-1-4299-7287-1.
- Haskell, Ann S. (April 29, 1979). "The Fantastic Mr. Pinkwater". The New York Times Book Review. pp. 32, 43. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- Card, Orson Scott (January 1989). The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction 76 (1): 39.