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The Monsters of Their Imaginations

Michael A. Greco
Michael A. Greco Author Interview

Hollyweird Needs is a wild SciFi story following a group of kids from a special needs school that discover a portal to the past in a new arcade game. How did this idea start and change as you wrote?

I started with my own fantasies about characters lost in space and time, and then played with all the possible twists involved with jumping through these dimensions. I should credit Steven King’s 11/23/63 for the following idea: What if these forces of space-time resisted change? I took this a step further with the characters ‘breaking’ the continuum, allowing all the fun stuff to happen, with the monsters of their imaginations pouring through.

There is a lot of interesting characters in this book. Who was your favorite character to write for?

I suppose my favorite character would be Chester. Even though there is no outstanding lead for this story, as it’s more of a buddy story, Chester is the one with the greatest understanding of how the time-jumping works, and she undergoes the most change, including how she rejects the moniker of Chester for her real Assyrian name as her self-actualization develops.

This seems like a very imaginative book. Was this an outlet for your natural creativity or was did it take some effort to put together?

I write within the genre of what I call comic fantasy, but my last couple of books (“Project Purple” and “Assunta”) wandered quite a bit from that category. You can say I got the HORROR out of my system. I probably should have published those under a different name, but I didn’t. And so now I’m back to doing what I enjoy the most—trying to be funny.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book is in the comic-fantasy realm, out this summer called “A Labyrinth for Loons”, about an American tourist stuck in Covid lockdown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He’s given the body of a corpse for storage because the family of the deceased is not allowed to drive it home for burial during lockdown. The dead man begins to haunt the guy, and he slips into a psychosis, losing his sense of identity and taking on the characteristics of the corpse—when it was alive. This action takes place with the day-to-day life and culture of Kuala Lumpur in the background.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

In a time-worn shopping center near Hollywood, California, teens in a special needs school have discovered an extraordinary arcade claw-game that offers tickets for the lucky winners to visit the past.

But the adults, especially those in the nearby screenwriting workshop, catch wind of the teens’ exploits, and in their own clumsy attempts to leap back into the past, tear a hole in the dimensions of time and space.

That’s when the monsters come through.

The Butts Plaza shopping center falls under siege, what with giant man-eating worms, dragons from the under-world, brain-eating zombies, killer monkey-birds, a deadly, gargantuan bouncing head, and even the Terminator–on a mission to terminate.

It turns out that forays done willy-nilly through the time continuum have consequences–mainly that the monstrosities featured in the adults’ screenplays come to life. Now the little shopping center has turned into a mish-mash of horrific goings-on.

The teens, all on various stages of the autism spectrum, must rescue the adults in Butts Plaza (and maybe the whole wide world!) from the horrors pouring through that hole in the sky.

And all of this begs the question–Who are the ones with special needs, anyway?

Hollyweird Needs

Hollyweird Needs: when monsters fell from a hole in the sky by [Michael Greco]

Michael A. Greco’s Hollyweird Needs is one of the most unique books I have ever read. The first word that came to mind as I read it was “peculiar”. From the characters to the storylines, there seems to be an eerie vibe to this book.

It follows the life of Chester, Smegman, Wordsworth, and other autistic teenagers living in a Los Angeles special need school dubbed “Special Kneads”. Although most of these teens don’t have any other caregivers, the school staff and neighbors play a huge role in their everyday lives, some even taking the place of family.

Havoc ensues in the shopping center that houses the school (Butts Plaza) when a new arcade claw game mysteriously shows up. Although the game seems harmless at first, it begins sending those who play it to the past, something that eventually results in devastating consequences. It is ultimately up to the teens to save the adults and restore order.

Not only is this book’s storyline unique but it also goes to great lengths to explain what goes on in an autistic person’s mind. I particularly appreciate the author’s efforts to not paint any of the teenagers as victims but rather as masters of their own destiny. Their individuality really did shine throughout the book.

The use of wordplay throughout the narrative is also a nice touch. For instance, the fact that that Wordsworth doesn’t speak and the claw game is called Dimensional Needs is quite a treat. But while the plot of the story is quite solid, but the execution is wanting, some dialogue seems out of place, and there seems to be a large cast of characters to keep track of. Apart from brief family history and information about their journey with autism, we didn’t get much about who the main characters were, and I really wanted to know because I found the characters interesting and wanted to know more.

With a solid concept and a large dose of creativity, Michael A. Greco’s Hollyweird Needs is an interesting science fiction story that will appeal to readers who like a little dark comedy in their urban fiction novel.

Pages: 264 | ASIN: B08SJ2XGMS

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