Imagine another reality -- it's easy if you try. What if John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr had taken a sad song and made it better, continuing to play as The Beatles?
From Diversion Books, Audible.com and Stellar Productions, this is a compelling and surprising account of what might actually have happened. Award-winning Hollywood writer/producer Bryce Zabel has written the novel in the style of a Rolling Stone-style piece of rock journalism. Bryce has created five hour drama series, served as CEO of the TV Academy, taught screenwriting at USC and been an on-air CNN correspondent.
Once There Was a Way WON the Sidewise Award for Alternate History! Facing tough competition, the book took first place among a panel of six judges, announced at sci-fi's Worldcon!
Once There Was a Way is about another world, the one where the Beatles worked it out instead of let it be.
“We know The Beatles let it be, but what if they worked it out instead? Once There Was a Way gives life to every fan’s fantasy. Bryce Zabel has created a great adventure full of twists and turns that never were, but might have been."
John Lennon in Time, "Rock's Angry Men," 1971
Paul McCartney in Rockstar, "Are The Beatles Dead?, 1973
-- that The Beatles never broke up but instead worked out their differences, continuing to make history as the greatest rock-and-roll band ever, living new adventures and creating a soundtrack for even more generations of fans to come. In this alternate history, despite their differences in the late 60s and early 70s, the four Beatles try to work it out rather than let it be, only to create new and completely unforeseen problems and opportunities.
This Sidewise Award winning novel brings The Beatles back to vibrant life as grown men entering their thirties, brothers who decide to fight a little harder to keep the band they built and the company they'd just started. The narrative's authentic tone ranges from gritty to light-hearted, the way The Beatles themselves were.
The novel's artistic concept takes readers into a world where The Beatles story incorporates other people and places from the time, like Woodstock, the Hell's Angels, Nixon's FBI, the Weather Underground, and even The Lord of the Rings. The book's cast of characters includes Hunter Thompson, Steve Jobs, Johnny Carson, Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, Teddy Kennedy, Linda Ronstadt, Bernardine Dohrn, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord Beeching, Ken Kesey, J. Edgar Hoover, and Stanley Kubrick. And, of course, John, Paul, George and Ringo, plus their hugely significant others; Linda, Yoko, Pattie and Maureen and, of course, all the chaotic crew at Apple Records from Magic Alex and Mal Evans to Allen Klein and George Martin.
Full of meticulous detail, the book is no mere fairy tale, but one that has been heavily researched and extrapolated from the real people and actual events, then bent and shaped to create an entirely plausible new story where John, Paul, George and Ringo find a way to stay friends and save the band from themselves.
— Booth Hill, editor Rockstar Magazine, 1979
The design is fun like a vintage poster, the cover is tactile, the print is easy to read, and it's just the right size. Get it here.
The price is right whether you get it from Amazon to Barnes & Noble, Kindle to iBook. Usually for $5.00 or less. Get it here.
Read by award-winning narrator Gerard Doyle doing authentic voices for the Beatles and the other characters. Get it here.
"I've actually owned two copies of Last Words. My girlfriend took my first copy when we split, so I bought it again and practically wore the grooves off that one, too. I remember what a big deal it was that they recorded this after what almost happened to Lennon and the whole thing in Seattle.
I bought it again on CD in the 80s, and now I've got it uploaded to the Cloud. And, get this, I bought the 40th anniversary edition on vinyl when it came out. So, how much do I like it? Like that."
~~ Patrick K. Baldwin, New York, New York
Art by Pablo Lobato, Album by Lynda Karr, Effect by Nate Gualtieri
"I remember that Band Plays On was the first of the Beatles albums I bought at college. It was insane, really, because these guys talked like they hated each other, then they made this phenomenal vintage records style album that blew me away. My friends all thought Everest was better but, for me, it was always Band Plays On. Period."
~~ Gail Honeycutt, El Paso, Texas
Art by Lynda Karr, Effect by Nate Gualtieri
"Imagine Another Day is absolutely the best use of vinyl since Rubber Soul even if it's just as jarring sometimes as A Doll's House. It's like no other album anyone has ever made. It's that good. I don't know how they pulled it off with Nixon's FBI doing what it did to them all. Maybe they got inspired when Hunter Thompson showed up, but I don't question magic."
~~ Peter Washington, Los Angeles, California
Art by Lynda Karr, Effect by Nate Gualtieri
Even now, when most fans hear a solo song from one of the ex-Beatles, there's a wince of regret. What if?
This novel brings The Beatles back to vibrant life as grown men entering their thirties, brothers who decide to fight a little harder to keep the band they built and the company they'd just started.
The book's cast of characters includes Hunter Thompson, Steve Jobs, Johnny Carson, Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, Teddy Kennedy, Linda Ronstadt, Bernardine Dohrn, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord Beeching, Ken Kesey, J. Edgar Hoover, and Stanley Kubrick. And, of course, John, Paul, George and Ringo, plus their hugely significant others; Linda, Yoko, Pattie and Maureen.
The story will surprise you. What else would you expect in a book about new Beatles adventures?
In 2021, we got to look at the break-up of The Beatles as never before when Peter Jackson's "The Beatles: Get Back" documentary aired six-plus hours over three nights on Disney+.
Because of that incredible new interest in The Beatles, Once There Was a Way continues to win new fans for its compelling story. Since winning the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 2018, the book's paperback, ebook and audiobook versions have caught on with readers and listeners. They all respond to the book's grounded narrative and the chance to see and hear John, Paul, George and Ringo in stories that never were but could easily have happened.
Stellar Productions retains the option to Once There Was a Way for film and TV. It has currently been developed as a ten-part limited series as part of the Breakpoint franchise.
Once There Was a Way just WON the Sidewise Award for Alternate History! The first BREAKPOINT novel -- Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas? — actually aslo WON the Sidewise Award, an award previously won by Michael Chabon, Philip Roth and Harry Turtledove.
Bryce Zabel is a Hollywood writer/producer who's created five primetime TV series, written produced feature films, worked as a CNN correspondent, and served as the CEO of the Television Academy that gives out the Emmys. He's a winner himself of the Writers Guild screenwriting award for his miniseries work.
— George Harrison in Rockstar, "Angry Young Men," 1972
— Ringo Starr interviewed in "Woodstock" documentary, 1969
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