entertaining, fresh, and some dead-on satire – The Future Fire review of The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There

Cover artwork: Hannah B. Farrell ARNS Cover on wall by permission of Travis Miles
Cover artwork: Hannah B. Farrell
ARNS Cover on wall by permission of Travis Miles

On The Future Fire Reviews, Lisa Timpf has posted a substantial review of The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There the latest in the Multiverse (aka Transdimensional Authority) series by Ira Nayman.

Lisa writes that Ira’s novel “blends the elements of a police procedural with madcap humor and imaginative characters and locales” and the reader is “treated to humor that leaves no stone unturned” where “everything and everyone is fair game for Nayman’s wit” including employing “absurdity to good effect” and “a knack for giving old expressions a new twist”.

The book is liberally sprinkled with references to popular culture and Lisa specifically picks out the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Star Trek, Mel Blanc, Jack Ryan and Canadian icons such as Margaret Atwood, Celine Dion and Tim Hortons. Aliens are also fair game for Ira’s fun, ranging from sparkling word play to slapstick humour. While some of the humour is purely for entertainment, some is intended to “pack a satirical bite based on Nayman’s observation of human nature” and “politics” as well as “observations about relationships, workplace dynamics, and our interface with technology that hit close to home”.

Lisa found the book to be “an enjoyable read, although I found myself reading carefully rather than quickly so as not to miss any of the sometimes-subtle humor”. It was, Lisa says, “entertaining, and the variety of types of humor and original turns of phrase kept things fresh”, there are “strong female as well as male characters, inventive and creative scene-setting, and some dead-on satire”.

Thanks for the review Lisa, we’re very happy that you enjoyed Ira’s book.

If you want to read the whole of Lisa’s review (and I recommend that you do), you can find it on The Future Fire Reviews here.

 

“startlingly original” – review of The Rhymer on The Future Fire

On The Future Fire website, Djibril al-Ayad has written a thoughtful review of Douglas Thompson’s comic-poetic satire The Rhymer, an Heredyssey. Djibril starts the review with the observation that The Rhymer is “one of the more surreal and absurdist tales Thompson has written” and goes on to add that it is “entirely written in a style somewhere between free-association, free-verse, and comic semi-rhyme, which sounds like it would be hard to read, but actually isn’t”. Confessing “to not particularly liking any of the characters, or indeed the narrative voice, but I did find it pleasant to read, challenging in the way that literature should be, and sometimes startlingly original.”

The Rhymer cover image
Palimpsest derived from photos of Leonardo’s work by Janaka Dharmasena/shutterstock.com
Original artwork by Alison Buck

Describing The Rhymer as a “deeply satirical and allegorical book”, Djibril admits that the style is “challenging to define—and occasionally distracting to read. Narrated in the first person by an obsessive rhymer, all narrative, description, action, dialogue and quoted speech or text are peppered with random, strained, sometimes inappropriate or malapropos rhyming, semi-rhyming or alliterating words.” When the narrator reports others’ speech in the same way it is “a hint to the reader that not all in the world of this novel is as it is being described”.

Summarising the story, Djibril identifies that the protagonist “one might even say the only real character, is the narrator, an aged, unwashed, amnesiac tramp with antisocial habits but a gift of the gab” who is attempting to “catch up with his world-famous but corrupt brother”, adding that the “fortunes of both turn on a dime, sometimes reversing or plunging to hell at the turn of a page—in time-honored story-telling tradition”.

Djibril admits that the review “has not really done justice to the turns and twists” of the novel, “partly because it would be unfair to give too much away, and partly because any attempt to summarize the plot in this medium would be inadequate”. In conclusion Djibril says that The Rhymer “is clearly a painstakingly and expertly crafted piece of writing, speaking to surrealist and absurdist aesthetics as well as the antiquarian’s love of subverted folklore and retro-science fiction. As often with Thompson’s novels, I came out of reading this book not entirely unambivalent, but certainly not unmoved.”

You can read Djibril’s full review here.

 

“a compelling tour de force” – review of Entanglement on The Future Fire

Entanglement cover (click for more details)On The Future Fire Reviews website, Terry Grimwood has reviewed Entanglement by Douglas Thompson. He describes it as “an intelligent, adult science fiction novel that blends the new with the old” and goes on to justify that by pointing out that the technologies are “founded on present day developments and theories” while the story is “imbued with a Golden Age sense of wonder”. He says he is reminded of Wells, Swift and Robert Silverberg – great company!

Although encounters with various alien races on their own planets are the key milestones in the story, this is not a heart-warming tale of savages meeting avaricious ‘civilised’ Terrans, but “is far more complex in its moral stance and particularly in its protagonists’ relationships with the alien races they meet”. He goes on to say that despite there being 17 separate planetary visits, Douglas “works hard to keep each encounter fresh and original”.

Terry goes on to expand on his comparison with Wells, who “was a writer in an age when there was still more than enough wonder and original invention to go round. Thompson manages to convey a similar wonder, prevalent in quite a few of his human-alien encounters. It is an innocence I have not seen in a science fiction novel for a long time. Thompson also captures Wells’ ability to transform the encounter between human and non-human into a mirror of our own intra-human relationships.”

He sums up: “Entanglement is a compelling tour de force, a brave attempt, painted on a vast, interstellar canvas, a novel that manages to maintain a startling imaginative variety as we visit world after world.” Then concludes with a return to his Swiftian comparison, and a finale that I won’t spoil by repeating here – go and read it for yourself!

You can (…should…must) read the full review here.

 

“drips with satire” – review of Welcome to the Multiverse* on The Future Fire

Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the inconvenience) cover image - click to enlarge
Cover image original artwork by Hannah B. Farrell, background photo by Bart_J/ shutterstock.com

On The Future Fire, Kate Onyett has written a detailed and very thoughtful review of Welcome to the Multiverse* by Ira Nayman. Having likened speculative fiction to a really well-fitting bra, Kate declares that Welcome to the Multiverse* is more of a corset! Thankfully moving away from lingerie, she goes on to describe Ira’s credentials as a satirist and his skill at using the notion of alternative realities to enable him to side-swipe his targets.  As she says, “Nayman’s satire is based very firmly in the political, in the social, in the Bigger Picture of social human existence”, although he is “not above making goofy jokes and bringing in groan-worthy pop culture references”.  Overall “Nayman does fill it to bursting with bits and pieces that are recognisable, pithy and interesting”.

Like other reviewers she singles out the intelligent furniture and appliances for being “bitchy, funny and endearing.”  She describes Ira’s style as “bouncy” with a “lively sense of interest that plays with narrative convention” that does all it can to make it a “cheerful experience”.  Although she says there is an “almost frenetic amount of material thrown onto the page” she admits that “it was remarkably easy how quickly I slipped into Nayman’s frame of reference (possibly due to the geek in me, never far from the surface), and into the metre of the narrative.”

Her conclusion?  In her own words: “I did become a keen reader; I found I was drawn in, interested and amused. Overall it was a good jape, and if a healthy spot of sci-fi comedy is your thing, then it will serve you very well.”

Read the full review here.

* Sorry for the inconvenience