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The story continues: 'Heroes: Saving Charlie'

December 25, 2007 |  8:20 am

With a lingering writers strike, many TV fans are finding other storytelling outlets to occupy their time. Online tales, comic books and even card games (in the case of Fox's "24") are making the rounds.  For followers of NBC's "Heroes" who are looking for an action-filled, mystery-inducing romp reminiscent of the first season of the show, the novelized "Saving Charlie" might not fill that adrenaline junkie void.  But in terms of expanding on one of the show's more endearing and popular characters, it scores high marks.

Savingcharlie "Saving Charlie" is a love story.  One that, due to Hiro Nakamura's powers of teleportation and time travel, literally spans a lifetime in months.

Back in the first season, Hiro and his friend Ando found themselves in a small Texas eatery (Burnt Toast Diner) while on their way to save the world. There they met Charlene "Charlie" Andrews,  a waitress who coincidentally has powers that cause her to superhumanly remember (and maybe more importantly) comprehend pretty much everything that she reads almost instantaneously.  In a few short minutes, Charlie learns Japanese and Hiro is smitten.  In a few more short minutes, Charlie is killed by the now infamous Sylar.  Hiro, feeling it's his duty and destiny, decides to use his abilities to go back in the past and save her.  And this is where the book comes in.

Author Aury Wallington, also a former writer on "Sex and the City" and "Veronica Mars," was thrilled to write the book as a big fan of the show -- but not as a big science fiction buff.

"They said 'we want to play up the love story more than the sci-fi,' and I was like 'Thank God,' " says Wallington.  "I did a lot of time-travel research ... I'm a fan, but this is the first time I've actually researched it."

She touches on minor details dealing with Hiro's powers and the consequences of using them, but the book and the story are not overly wrought with explanations about the space-time continuum.  His adventures in the past lead to a loving relationship with the big-hearted, sassy waitress that can only be described as "sweet."  But destiny's stir is always mixing up the coffee cup of life, and Hiro's powers are tied to events that he SHOULD be completing more so than what he WANTS to do.  While tumbling through time and emotions, he realizes that saving Charlie is a lot more complicated than going back and whisking her away.

Hiro This is where Wallington excels with the love story.  Though an excitable character on the show, Hiro's depth of emotion was never explored as much as it is here.  His back story, dedication, and early struggles with his abilities are all brought to the forefront and laid out.  Charlie, a character that we barely knew, is also presented as a much more complex and tragic figure than viewers were ever able to glean from her abbreviated stint on the show.  Her bubbly persona definitely masks a troubled past, and Wallington reveals it without being too preachy or obvious.

"Saving Charlie" is a great escape and provides even more understanding of how the powers heaped upon the "Heroes" characters affect their lives.  So, can we expect that other characters may get the long-form treatment?

"All I want in the world is to get to write the Sylar story, but the problem is what makes 'Heroes' so amazing and what makes the book so good ... is that the writers have such an amazing command of that world," says Wallington.  "As much as I'm dying to write Sylar's story, I'd have to wait to talk to them after the strike.  I couldn't do it without having access to the writers."

Now the strike's effects are even being felt by the publishing world!

The book, published by Del Rey, is set to be released Dec. 26.

Photos: Amazon.com / NBC Universal

-- Jevon Phillips

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