American Fries: A Queer Farce is Tom Beattie’s fun play where he explores how Molière’s playwright style could have been if it had included some queerness in it. Marriage equality and same-sex love are the main aspects dealt with in his play, all done in a fun and hilarious way that will leave its readers constantly smiling and giggling at every turn of the page.
The book includes two different plays. The first one, American Fries, based in seventeenth-century Paris, follows the friends Bayonet and Heavyset as they conspire to find a way to pair and marry each other’s kids. However, the girls Crepsuzette and Anisette, and the boys Pirouette and Leatherette, may have some different plans of their own. Although it is a period play, it is told in a modern way with modern humor, making it very enjoyable to read. The second play included in the book, Once Married, goes back to modern day to follow the lives of Tom and David, a gay couple from the United States in their early sixties, with the deep wish of having the freedom to marry each other without fear.
The plays included in the book were fun and easy to read. Even though the book deals with serious themes such as same-sex marriage, the author expresses his story and his feelings in an entertaining and natural way. I was constantly smiling throughout the different plays, highly appreciating Tom Beattie’s humor. Even the names of the characters made me laugh every time that they appeared on the page, they had such an unique and creative touch to them. The stories told were not only funny but also endearing, being able to portray by the end the significance of companionship and love regardless of gender, a very powerful message in this day and age.
I found the first play, American Fries, to be unique and would love to see a longer one in the future with the same style of writing and humoristic attitude. The deep feelings of love are portrayed in a simple, yet powerful manner, allowing the reader to feel connected to the characters and understanding the depth of their emotions. I only wish that the plays had been longer, there is still some potential that can be explored further with the characters that were introduced throughout the story.
American Fries: A Queer Farce is a fast paced and easy read with entertaining humor and an overall imaginative and creative style. Author Tom Beattie gives readers such an endearing and enjoyable reading experience.
Pages: 143 | ASIN:
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The Voyages of Ralf follows the eponymous character on a series of adventures that he falls into and out of in humorous ways. What was the inspiration for the setup to this fun story?
Although my second published novel, The Voyages of Ralf is actually the first novel I ever completed. A very early version of it, created during my high school years, was based on three sequential short stories. Changes and updates occurred sporadically over the next few years, and then the manuscript lay fallow for decades until I began the final, complete re-write in 2019.
Despite the long interval between conception and delivery, the book retained its three-voyage format, and much of the story line of the original first two voyages. The third voyage was entirely reconceived this millennium. The pandemic provided inspiration to remain hiding in my room and finalize the manuscript during the spring, and into the summer of 2020, no doubt hastening the book’s release.
Ralf is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
Borne in a gale of adolescent frustration and confusion, Ralf emerged as a non-character, the butt of the Universe’s jokes, a perpetual virgin and neophyte. He is often unsure what to do in the moment, and unclear about who is on his side; this leads to trouble. He has, however, ‘a good heart’, and by taking the side of those he deems on the right side of history, he stumbles through to better days.
The books takes a satirical view on several topics. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
The book is intended to be fun; however, there are strong themes of humanism throughout. The impacts of racism (species-ism?), abuse of authority, malign impacts of abusive personalities, and the struggle for identity formation are revealed through a comedic lens. The idea of the alien mind fascinates this author, and how we deal with those who are different from us is at the heart of the book.
This is volume one in the series. What can readers expect in the upcoming volumes?
The next volume, tentatively titled ‘Love Triangulum’, will explore more of Ralf’s background, explaining what happened to his father, and settling Ralf’s true place in his Universe. Some previously introduced characters will return, but many exotically alien ones will also be introduced. The history of Martiankind has not yet been fully revealed. Also, the central tenets of the Alliance and its religion, Aronism, specifically the exaltation of beauty, were merely glanced upon, and their social impacts will be more fully explored.
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Ferris Wolfe is flying high. Having just pulled off a major marketing coup for his small magazine, Ferris feels his star finally rising. But beneath his feet, his company is crumbling. For Aquatic Hobbyist is a publication that rewards slackers and punishes its most dedicated staff. And when a mysterious act of sabotage rocks its offices, clues point to an inside job. Someone is gunning for Publisher Wolfe. Suspects abound, but is something more going on? As crises escalate and Ferris stumbles to the end of his publishing career, the company confronts a karmic siren song that will make every office worker howl.
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How Ferris Wolfe Got Fired follows a corporate employee whose star is rising as the company crumbles amid sabotage. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I am a retired office worker. Most of the characters in Ferris Wolfe are inspired by real people I have worked with throughout my life. Their story represents a revenge fantasy of many dedicated employees who are oppressed by their own co-workers. The total disconnect between senior managers’ impression of their organization and the realities on the ground is also quite the norm and a phenomenon worth exploring.
Ferris Wolfe is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Wolfe is typical of many successful executives – his interest is in advancing himself, and it does not extend much further than that. Wolfe also suffers from insecurity in the shadow of his more successful younger brother. These flaws blind him to the rot that has engulfed his company and render him helpless when calamity ultimately strikes.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
First and foremost I wanted to present a realistic office populated with real people. I find Hollywood’s stereotypes of office workers as either pathetic losers or high-flying schemers in designer suits to be stale and insulting. Most office workers simply run the gamut of ordinary folk and our stories are rarely told in fiction. I also wanted to introduce a fantasy with a hint of magic that would celebrate the people who manage to keep things running despite the obstacles and abuse that too often arise in any workplace. Finally I hoped to create a different, more natural approach to office humor. There are more than enough real human foibles in office life to get a good laugh without resorting to the demeaning stereotypes that have prevailed for too long.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
This is still to-be-decided at this time.
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Orange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg is an exciting dystopian thriller and pretty much a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s about Orange City: a bizarre place where its inhabitants are kept firmly under the control of the Man. Here they toil away for faceless organizations and use petty distractions to not drown in the misery of their jobs. Here, Graham Weatherend is placed in a unique position– he has to decide whether he will work for a dangerous and addictive new product, innocuously named Pow! Soda or whether he will take up the more risky path of finding out exactly what is going on in a world where he can trust few.
Graham is an introverted and humorous character with neat tricks up his sleeve in the most unlikely situations. His quest is to find out the truth about the soda while avoiding being banished to The Zones. All the while navigating the unexpected effects of Pow! Soda. There are some other difficult topics also addressed in this book– especially surrounding Gayle’s situation. The abuse of power and free will are central to the characters’ motivations and behavior.
I kept trying to anticipate the next twist of the plot but I could never guess where this book was going to go- the book is not only a few steps ahead of me, it simply does not follow regular science fiction rules. Which is not a bad thing at all- I was strapped in for a fun romp and ended up with a substantial and thoughtful novel. There’s probably thousands of science fiction books and movies in the world but the best of the lot have always been the ones that are adjacent to reality. The sweet spot in the uncanny valley where if the universe were merely a few degrees askew the characters’ lives would be our lives. This is what happens here.
The writing is sharp and cool- it has a neo-noir thriller vibe to it that wouldn’t be out of place in a movie where a tortured Ryan Gosling runs around town saving people while being drenched in moral ambiguity. Meaningful prose and intense drama ensues.
Orange City is a great read for anyone who enjoys science fiction thrillers or just cool and atmospheric books in general. Just be prepared to have a mini-existential crisis about where our world is headed!
Pages: 231 | ASIN: B08R96Z37G
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Want a glimpse inside your dog’s head? Want to see what he’s thinking? If so, this is the book you need to read! Meet Rocket. He’s a bulldog Shih-Tzu mix that lets you into his world through what he writes. You can learn about his likes and dislikes as well as getting to know his mommy, daddy, Jojo and Dougie. It can get crazy sometimes because they have a full house, so it’s never dull. He walks you through his playtime, his walking, when his mommy gets irritated at him for chasing the cats, and so much more. Come look inside Rocket’s life, and you might wonder what your pet is thinking!
What Would Rocket Do is a cute book that will keep you entertained with various candid photographs and a charming story. Reading the part where Rocket’s mommy was watching Star Wars, and he says that he loves the Ewoks and Chewbacca and he loves Yoda because he believes that he would be able to understand animals was such an entertaining section to read. This is indicative of the delightful humor throughout this book. Author Kim Slone has done an amazing job conveying Rocket’s thoughts and ideas in a way that seems so much like what a dog would actually think about. The reader is able to connect with Rocket by getting an inside look at what Rocket is thinking and what made him love his life. There are photographs of Rocket on nearly every other page of this book that bring the story to life. The photos remind of an Instagram feed where it captures the day in the life of a dog. The author’s writing is clear and the story is smooth and definitely something you can read over quickly and be left smiling.
Pages: 125 | ASIN: B089GB9Y6M
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The Pearl Territory follows the survivors of the Earth that seek a life outside their restrictive colony and may find it on an enigmatic planet. What was the inspiration for the setup to this compelling novel?
I would prefer to call them the chosen survivors because most of them (advanced and primitive) left the Earth before the gamma-ray hit it. Their escape was calculated; they had been preparing for that kind of situation.
It’s true, they are looking for the ninth planet in the hope of building the new world, the place of their dreams. The advanced are looking for new territory; the people of power – for crystal, the sacred gate between different dimensions and universes; the primitive, or people of resistance – to break free from AI. Everybody has their own agenda, but there is only one planet – the beautiful, full of water, green Pearl. How would they share it, if they ever did? Is it possible for them all to live in peace? Is Pearl a habitable place? Or is this planet only an illusion?
The story is the sketch of our society, filled with murderers, doctors, religious fanatics, kids with superpowers, mutants, demons, famous painters, witches, Egyptian Kings, magical books, AI-police, addictions, and endless sexual (often ridiculous) rules.
I’m also trying to peek into the future by analyzing such sensitive theme as partition into two primary races: advanced and primitive humans. Who knows, it might be our reality in 2718 (if we survive until then), when the worlds and the planets will be divided between nano-people (conscious robots with feelings) and good old homo sapiens.
Please don’t take this novel too seriously – this is a surreal, absurdist, and grotesque fiction full of adult humor.
Ah, about the inspiration! It is always the silence. Every novel of mine is always born from the silence…
I enjoyed the array of characters you’ve created. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I don’t have a favorite character.
The book consists of 60+ heroes. It might be challenging to follow; that’s why I’d advise you to read it in two or maximum three sittings, preferably as a paperback, in the span of a week. It shouldn’t be that hard, the book is only 200 pages long.
I’d like to mention, though, the character called Mara – the Queen of the Surreal Kingdom, hidden beneath the murky waters of Pearl (the ninth planet). She or He, or both, is the ruler of the demonic powers, the yin and the yang of the Magical Universe, the catcher of Time. I often ask myself, what would I do to stop the time? Would I be as cruel as Mara? Who knows?
Unfortunately, the most powerful people are often showing signs of cruelty, especially when they are too close to achieve or find something they dreamed of for so long…
There’s also a couple of funny metaphysical characters in my book: Mister Time himself – a horny old man who is spending his eternal life locked inside of the closed zone; and his lovely Elsa-chair, which is an actual chair that can talk, walk, and joke.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
As I already mentioned, this novel is a sketch of our society. I tried to glimpse into the future without going deep into psychology, relationships, political fights, and the danger of artificial power. I tried to show as many typical characters of the Earth as possible.
One of the themes, of course, is the search for happiness. People are always searching for something, they are never satisfied, and this kind of dissatisfaction, as we see, leads to a lot of problems.
It doesn’t matter which theme or question you are going to pick, there’s an answer or a hero to that in ‘The Pearl Territory’.
The book is written in two formats: 50% private journals and 50% dialogues.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on a book called ‘The Secrets of A-Ria’, the second book in the trilogy Child of Illusion, for young adults. Genre: metaphysical fantasy, absurdist. I’m writing humorous fiction for adults, so I find it quite challenging to write for teens.
I see it as a separate book, which means you don’t need to read book 1 to understand or follow the story in book 2. The plot revolves around Codes’ land, called A-Ria – the place unseen and inaccessible by humans. The main character, Aileen, is the Code of Death, who regulates the normal flow of life on Earth. But, as always, the Earth is in danger, as well as the Land of A-Ria. The Black Creeper is coming…
The message of this book: monsters don’t always look like monsters.
It will be available in the summer of 2021.
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No Birds Sing Here is a satire that follows two young aspiring authors, Beckman and Malany. The duo tries to escape the mundanity of their everyday lives when one day Beckman decides he has had enough. They flee through an apartment window and hit the road! Along the way, they discuss how they’ll actually make it as writers. And in an effort to get their names out there, they pull some wild antics and play up all the artistic clichés.
Author Daniel V. Meier, Jr. has created a complex plot compared to most satirically driven stories. And there are many highs and lows to this riveting story. Where one part lacks another shines so bright it’s blinding. Meier’s character building left me with mixed emotions. Due to the lack of descriptions of Beckman and Malany, I had a hard time visualizing them in my mind. Although, when it came to the construction of their personalities, I felt that Meier was spot on with details. Within the first few chapters I could tell what kind of people Beckman and Malany were. That also lent to me being able to figure out what their story arcs would be. I appreciate Meier’s sharp satirical take on artists and what their audiences truly want. His incisive portrayal of human desire and all of its clichés is wildly fascinating. With nimble writing and refreshing viewpoints the story gave me off beat poet generation vibes, which I adore. His metaphors mimicked the style of that generation and overall gives the story some color.
No Birds Sing Here is a literary adventure that I heartily enjoyed for its savvy dialogue and intriguing views. But I would have loved to have gotten more backstory within the early pages because the characters are captivating and I wanted more of them. Author Daniel V. Meier gives readers a road trip they won’t soon forget.
Pages: 250 | ASIN: B08GZGFYLF
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