On his blog Shelf Abuse, Carl Doherty has just reviewed Fictional Alignment, which he introduces as Mike French’s “sequel to the brilliantly bonkers An Android Awakes”. Describing the book as “grand and eclectic” he adds that “it’s never boring or short on style or ambition”. He says he absolutely loved Fictional Alignment, perhaps even more than An Android Awakes (which he reviewed in 2015 as “I bloody loved it”), adding that it’s “quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. Mike French is a distinct voice in a genre that too often not only settles for the derivative but is expected to do so by its readers.” Mike’s writing, Carl says, “has more in common with British comics than prose”, it is “punky and anarchic” and “closer in tone to the cheeky satire of classic 2000AD than anything else I can think of”.
Carl concludes by saying that Mike’s “idiosyncratic irreverence and boundless creativity make Fictional Alignment a demanding but unforgettable read”. You can read the whole of Carl’s review on Shelf Abuse here.
On Alternative Magazine Online, Marty Mulrooney has reviewed Mike French’s surreal novel Fictional Alignment, the sequel to An Android Awakes. Marty starts by recommending reading An Android Awakes first, because both books complement each other in “exciting and often unexpected ways”. He goes on to warn readers of Fictional Aligment to prepare “to be shocked, baffled and amazed, in no particular order and sometimes all at once”.
Mike French, says Marty, writes “like a man possessed, transitioning from science fiction to romance one minute and from horror to comedy the next, with a multitude of other genres crammed in-between” with prose that is often “surprisingly elegant”. Describing Fictional Alignment as a book that celebrates the power of the written word, Marty concludes his review by saying that “there was nothing quite like An Android Awakes when it was first published in 2015 and there’s nothing quite like Fictional Alignment now in 2018”. Fictional Alignment is, he says, “just as well written and engaging as An Android Awakes” and he highly recommends it.
On his website Now Read This!, comics writer (and past chairman of the Comics Creators Guild) Win Wiacek has reviewed Fictional Alignment by Mike French, the sequel to An Android Awakes. You may remember that Win was very complimentary about An Android Awakes (a “captivating and fascinating tome”), and he is no less enthused about Fictional Alignment. He describes the new book as a “mind-bending Scientific Romance” which offers a “challenging odyssey through the theocracy of thought and depicts a trenchant guerrilla war between What Is, What Might and What Should be…”. He suggests it will appeal to devotees of Michael Moorcock, Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch among others. High praise! Thanks Win.
Mike French was recently interviewed for the Alternative Magazine Online by Marty Mulrooney. Although it was predominantly to talk about Mike’s new book, Fictional Alignment the sequel to An Android Awakes, they covered a few other topics too (like house extensions, birthdays, and Blade Runner 2049). All in all an entertaining and informative interview, with a sneaky teaser at the end.
Oh, and “Oddball, enjoyable and original” was Marty’s description of Fictional Alignment not Mike. But there again…
Read the interview at the Alternative Magazine Online website here.
Seregil of Rhiminee recently reviewed Ira Nayman’s latest Multiverse novel The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There, the fifth book in the Multiverse (aka Transdimensional Authority) series. Seregil starts by writing “Ah, Ira Nayman has done it again!” and goes on to say that although this is the fifth book in the series “it is still as amusing, fresh and highly entertaining as the previous novels (to be totally honest, in certain ways this novel is even better than its predecessors).” Later Seregil writes that he finds Ira’s ability to parody popular culture absolutely brilliant and he was “once again amazed at his shameless way of writing genuinely funny and thought-provoking satire about TV series etc. Just like the previous novels, this novel has quite an amazing amount of references to popular culture, which is one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading it.” As he adds, “Virtually nobody and nothing is safe from his quirky humour and that’s an extremely good thing.” Seregil concludes his review with a plea to Ira: “More, please!”.
Read the whole of Seregil’s review on Risingshadow.net here.
When Sapphira writes the first human-written fiction in a century, zealot androids vow to eradicate all fiction. They fail – her book is a best seller – so they send a team back in time to realign the historical record with her fictional stories.
DARTFORD, KENT – 12 January 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of a new book by Mike French. Fictional Alignment is a sequel to the ground-breaking An Android Awakes, a collaboration between Mike French and artist Karl Brown which was published at the end of 2015 by Elsewhen Press. In that book, Android Writer PD121928 is attempting to have a novel published, but is only allowed 42 failed submissions before he will be terminated. Despairing, as he waits to hear whether his final attempt has been accepted, he commits suicide; but it is accepted, so his successor, PD121929, passes himself off as the author. In Fictional Alignment we discover that, because fewer than a hundred copies of that novel were sold, PD121929 was himself terminated. The human Sapphira, who had been in love with PD121928, wrote a bestselling novel Humans (An Arrangement of Minor Defects) based on the stories he told her on the night they first met. It was marketed by the Altostratus publishing house as the first work of fiction by a human for over a hundred years. As a result, a handful of zealot androids massacred the senate and formed a new regime fuelled with a passion to eradicate the evil of fiction from android society. But however much they try, they are unable to remove the impact of Sapphira’s novel. If fiction cannot be made to align with reality, then reality must be made to align with fiction. So, in a desperate move, they kidnap Sapphira and force her to work with an oddball team that travels back in time to enact the events of the stories in her book – thus ensuring that they are historical records rather than fiction. This is the ultimate implementation of fake news.
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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.
Ricky describes Ira’s series as “a collection of humorous examinations of the social interactions between a wide range of colorful characters who travel between alternate realities”, which is a pretty succinct outline. He says that this latest addition to the series is “compelling” because the events that are being investigated involve people having their consciousness exchanged with somebody else in a different reality. He finds the idea of a multiverse fascinating enough, he says, but add “Nayman’s penchant for literary wit to the mix” provides the reader with a “non-stop whimsical adventure that is both thought provoking and difficult to put down”.
Ricky draws the inevitable comparisons with Douglas Adams. Both Nayman and Admas, he says, “employ the same dry humor and ability to make the most irrational situation seem, well, commonplace”. His analysis of both is itself thoughtful and insightful and he concludes that “Adams’ work seemed limited to cultural and social issues dropped in a fantastic setting, but Nayman takes these concerns in a different direction by drawing on the fandom of science fiction and relying on the strength of his target audience’s knowledge of the genre to understand the humor”.
This is an interesting and well constructed review, not just of this book but of Ira’s approach to humour and storytelling. He concludes by saying that this book is “a fun read and a fine introduction to author Ira Nayman if you’re not already familiar.” He says he will now be adding the earlier books in the series to his “must read” list.
You can (and should) read Ricky’s full review on the Amazing Stories website here.
The fifth book in Ira Nayman’s Multiverse series investigates anomalies within the reporting of news events, but becomes the subject of a news story itself as theories abound to account for a missing chapter.
DARTFORD, KENT – 16 June 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication today of The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There by Ira Nayman. In this, the fifth novel in Ira’s Transdimensional Authority series, (now more accurately called the Multiverse series as the fourth book in the series was mostly about the Time Agency – honestly, if you blinked, you would have missed the appearance of the Transdimensional Authority, and if you didn’t blink, well, Elsewhen Press accepts no responsibility for the cost of the surgery to rehydrate your eyes), we once again follow the intricate web of events that unfold in a Transdimensional Authority investigation (oh! – so we could have stayed with the other series name after all – it’s not easy keeping track when these sentences can be the size of a Sherman tank!).
However, conspiracy theorists have been conjecturing why there is apparently no chapter 17 in the book. We categorically deny that it was removed under instructions from an inter-governmental agency. Sources say: “It never existed. Suggesting it was removed under pressure from officials is fake news. Sad. Even without chapter 17 this is a great book, the greatest book ever published. It has no need for a chapter 17. Chapter 17s are overrated – covfefe is much better.”
So, let’s get back to the book. Why would someone, apparently chosen at random, have their consciousness swapped with someone else in another reality? How would someone, apparently chosen at random, have their consciousness swapped with someone else in another reality? Why would another three persons, apparently chosen at random, have their consciousness swapped with three other someone elses in another reality? Why would the entire bridge crew of a starship, apparently…well, you get the picture. What will happen to all these very confused people? How does the Alternate Reality News Service get scoops on these events so quickly? Why are their reporters acting so dodgy – do they have something to hide, or just issues? Who are the Pops, and can they help? Does the editrix-in-chief know what’s going on, and if she does would she even tell Noomi (our favourite TA investigator)? What was that noise from her office when Noomi was ‘interviewing’ her? Why am I asking you these questions when you haven’t even read the story yet? Or have you? Why are you reading this blurb if you’ve already read the story? Are you looking for an alternate reality, or just alternative facts? This is fiction you know, we tell it like it is. If you want alternative facts you better try a news service…or a politician. Oh, and if you’re looking for a news service, you could always consider the Alternate Reality News Service.
The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There is available on all popular eBook platforms from today. It will be available in paperback in August.
Notes for Editors
About Ira Nayman
In his past lives, Ira Nayman was, among other things: a cave painter whose art was not appreciated in his lifetime; several nameless peasants who died before their 20th birthday during the Dark Ages; a toenail fungus specialist in the court of Louis XIV; and Alan Turing’s scullery maid. In his current incarnation, Ira is the creator of Les Pages aux Folles, a Web site of political and social satire that is almost 15 years old (that’s positively Paleolithic in Internet years!). Five collections of Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS) stories which originally appeared on the Web site have been self-published in print. Ira has produced the pilot for a radio series based on stories from the first two ARNS books; “The Weight of Information, Episode One” can be heard on YouTube. Ira has also written a series of stories that take place in a universe where matter at all levels of organization has become conscious. They feature Antonio Van der Whall, object psychologist. Ira’s Web Goddess tells him he should make more of the fact that he won the 2010 Jonathan Swift Satire Writing Contest. So, Ira won the 2010 Jonathan Swift Satire Writing Contest. He is currently President of SFCanada, and Managing Editor for the Amazing Stories Web site. In another life (but still within this incarnation) Ira has a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research which was conducted entirely online. He also has a PhD in Communications from McGill University. Ira taught New Media part-time at Ryerson University for five years. Whoever created the Karmic wheel has a lot to answer for…
On his website, Gestalt Real-Time Reviews, Des Lewis has recently been reading the stories in Rhys Hughes’ collection Mirrors in the Deluge and writing a review of each as a ‘thought-stream’ over the last month. It has been fascinating to watch the reviews of these stories pop up on the page on a more-or-less daily basis, in an approach that lends itself well to a book, such as Mirrors in the Deluge, full of 32 such diverse stories. It’s not really feasible to do justice to the extent of Des’ often detailed, and always incisive, review in such a brief summary here, so I hope Des won’t mind me picking out a handful of highlights and then recommending that you go over to his website and read it all for yourself. One general comment that I’d like to pick out first, though, is that Des believes that for many of the stories in the book, “if they had been published separately in high profile anthologies each would have made a name for itself as a literary classic, but they seem lost here gathered together, shame to say.” It is indeed a shame, but hopefully Des’ review will help encourage more people to embrace Rhys (or at least his stories!)
On The Soft Landing
“The autobiography of a deep space photon…
This is so eye-opening, I feel it would not have been out of place as a work in ‘The Big Book of Science Fiction’ that I read recently. Seriously.”
On Najort Esroh
“Only in Rhys Hughes do things happen that make you think more laterally than any other author whom I read makes you think. And I read a lot!”
On The Mouth of Hell
“It creased me up. Seriously.”
On Arms Against a Sea
“This is probably the nearest you will get to reading literature written by an extraterrestrial.”
On The Apple of My Sky
“This light piece with distractive silly names for characters did actually cause me to laugh out loud on more than one occasion (e.g. The Big Apple joke) and that is no mean feat.”
On The Taste of Turtle Tears
“This is a Rhysian classic. If not THE Rhysian classic.”
On The Bones of Jones
“A major Rhysian work that I would love to read aloud, to see if it it is utter rubbish (a stream of word association?) or pure genius. Amazingly, it could be both. It’s certainly set my mind buzzing, as you can tell.” Rhys maintains this is the best story in the book, with which Des does not disagree.