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Reviews *
{Sydney, July 91}

MetaQuest first hit the stores in February of 1991 and received modest success to decidedly mixed reviews. As one might expect, there was some other personal fallout. Several credit card companies canceled their credit lines to me. A few threatening letters came in and a liable suit was started. But hard as the publisher tried to promote it, there was no great call for talk show appearances or book signings. I even indicated i would be willing to return to the states temporarily, if it would help sales, but america was not interested. It was not really designed to be a popular book, but a brief stint on a best sellers list would have made me happy, alas it was not to be. Interestingly, the paper with the largest circulation to review the book was the Sydney Morning Herald (5/9/91).

"There is an unusual Californian in our midst. Mr. P. Adrian Z. Calta's book MetaQuest is the unlikely tale of how he got here. It is an elaborate blending of autobiography with prophetic fiction and heady philosophy with a sailing story. Possibly too elaborate for this first time writer. The story contains a number of characters with peculiar names, who seem to spend a lot of time thinking about how they might change the world. Paxus Calta is on the top of this list, his philosophy, which he calls 'antidoxy' (a contraction of anti-orthodoxy) is the postmodern solution to the problem of ethics: Throw everything into a bag, stir in some study and out pops a value set, composed of the 'best' random pieces. I remain unconvinced, this is unlikely to slow the author down however. Radical philosophies aside, this story keeps the reader guessing at what will happen next, in this occasionally bemusing, supposedly autobiographical tale in which almost anything seems possible."

"Radical philosophies aside" - ouch.

The most hostile review I saw was in the Arizona Democrat May 1, 91.

"I avoid reviewing really bad books as a rule, hoping that they will quietly disappear if everyone ignores them. An exception should be for Adrian Calta's MetaQuest, because it verges on dangerous.

This book is full of malicious instructions including defrauding credit card companies, seducing witches, disrupting military bases, rationalizations for infidelity and terrorism. Calta takes the reader on a dark sojourn into his sick philosophy. An avowed pagan and thus devil worshipper, the author attempts to fuse elements of Christianity, Black Magic and Communism in his 'anti-orthodox' religion, creating an ethical Frankenstien. In this section MetaQuest gets quite lost.

For decent hard working people, trying to raise families and carrying the "ethical baggage" Mr. Calta seems unburdened by, this book offers nothing positive. His 'Irresistible Ideas' are easily resisted.

This is not a book for reading, it is a book for burning. It's convoluted and confused structure makes it unique and singularity may be its only virtue."

Sales were surprisingly brisk in Arizona. Perhaps the most positive review came, unsurprisingly, from the San Jose Mercury News (April 27, 91).

"One of the Mercury's' most prolific letter writers has gone solo with fascinating results. P. Adrian Z. Calta has created a collection of essays framed in an adventure story set historically as well as in the future. The story is a 1990's existential voyage in the vein of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is appropriately titled MetaQuest. Calta's search for a journey takes him thru radical politics, collective living, ritual spirituality, across the Pacific to Australia and ultimately to Russia. The book is sprinkled with his curious and frequently comic history complete with romances and run ins. He forewarns the reader that he is trying to influence you and whether you agree or not your attention will be held in this books too few pages. Consisting of a number of short chapters held together by various plot threads, the story line suffers a bit in the first half of the book. But by the middle we are thrown into a piece of fiction which has something of the feel of a spy story (though the author is most certainly an anti-spy). Calta finds some of his mission takes him to the Soviet Union, where he watches the faltering Gorbechev reforms, as he attempts to work around the superpower governments using computers and concerned citizens to bridge the communications gap. Ultimately, the expatriate is drawn home to the US, with disturbing consequences.

MetaQuest is filled with ideas, some good, some less so, though most original. While many people will come to different conclusions, the methods proposed for looking at your own quests are compelling. We're glad to see one of our Silver Pen Award winners moving on to bigger and better things."

The New York Times and Pravda had no comment.

* These are my comments (originally written in 1988) on book reviews about my pseudo-autobiography, called MetaQuest. The book was never written, correspondingly, the reviews are ficticious.