Parody

Scribbling

Scribbling
Published: October 24, 2012
Neville Lansdowne pushed the world out of shape. He didn't mean to do it. He didn't even realise he had done it. If you had asked him, he would have said that, as far as he could tell, the world was the wrong shape to begin with. In a world that is totally the wrong shape, Neville meets a new bunch of eccentric characters, and embarks on another strange and wholly unexpected adventure.

Doodling

Doodling
Published: January 24, 2011
Neville Lansdowne fell off the world. Actually he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.   Doodling is an engaging comic fantasy which relates the events that befall Neville after he finds himself abandoned by the world and adrift in the middle of an asteroid field. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver's Travels) as Neville wanders through his new home, meeting a variety of eccentric characters and experiencing some most unexpected adventures.

The Warden War

The Warden War
Published: January 7, 2014
Prince Donald’s father, King Leonard of Westgrove, has been told that the neighboring kingdom of Gotrox has discovered a magical means to animate a mysterious and gigantic ancient stone warrior, the Warden of Mystic Defiance, which it plans to use it to spearhead an invasion of his country. Donald is convinced this is a hoax carefully crafted by his father’s chief adviser to bring about a war to gain control of Gotroxian resources. Donald is determined to thwart him. It will not be easy. Chief Adviser Horace Barter has resources, connections, influence, and the almost unquestioned trust of the king. Donald, sadly, has none of these. What the young prince does have is a nominal position with the diplomatic team being sent to Gotrox and the companionship of a few rather unique friends including a pair of 15,000-year-old androids, one of which is a dog–or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

The Warden War is the second book in a series about Prince Donald of Wesgrove, a naive young man with a desire to be a hero who steadily grows up as the two books progress. The first book, The Warden Threat, was a good story, but this is even better. The writing is stronger, the story tighter and its light-hearted approach does not detract from the drama. This is quite simply an excellent story that, although it doesn’t take itself too seriously, makes important observations on the nature of humanity and the dangers of trusting someone with the power to manipulate the information received by those in power.

 

 The addition of the androids—their true nature unknown to Donald and his friends—creates an unusual mix of ancient fantasy and science fiction, and provides ample opportunity for amusing banter when, unnoticed by the others, the androids speak ‘mentally’ to each other.

Morrese’s writing style is simple and effective, giving us clear descriptions without anything extraneous.  The plot interesting, well paced and sometimes surprising. Although we don’t go as deeply into some of the supporting characters in this book, their characters have been well established previously. The focus in this book is more on the android Nash and Prince Donald himself. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the book is how well Donald’s character is developed. He doesn’t just grow up; he earns his father’s respect step by step and by the end shows all the qualities of a selfless hero without a hint of artifice.

On the surface, this is just a light, entertaining read, but underneath is the solid ground of an insightful comment on the machinations of politics and human nature. I think it’s a particularly excellent read for teenage boys.

The Warden Threat

The Warden Threat
Published: March 1, 2012
A lighthearted parody.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

September 28, 2012

‘The Warden Threat’ is a light-hearted parody of epic fantasy. Though the genre is noted as science fiction, the science fiction was suggested rather than explicit. It’s a fun read with a darker underlying theme of political and religious manipulation.

Our hero is Prince Donald, third son of the king of Westgrove and quintessential archetypal fool. He’s sweet, naive and idealistic, and longs to be the hero in a story. He’s left the palace to wander the country in search of adventure and to get to know the ordinary people. Luckily his guide is a worldly wise character who is able to moderate the Prince’s impulses.  When it comes to his notice that an ancient and massive magical stone warrior known as the Warden of Mystic Defiance in the neighbouring kingdom is going to be woken and used in a war against Westgrove, Donald sees it as his chance to prove his mettle and be the one to save the kingdom.

Nothing turns out as he planned. Everything is much more complex and difficult than he imagined, and it soon becomes apparent that in real life, the hero is not always predestined to save the day.

However, true to the fool archetype, his amusing bungles make it clear to him that he knows nothing, and that knowledge makes him open to the truth. Because he wanders with ordinary people, he sees things that the King in his throne room cannot. Donald discovers that something is brewing and it’s not what the King thinks it is. Will he listen to Donald though?

Donald is a delightful character who grows as the book progresses, and his two companions are equally as endearing in their own way. I love the way his guide nurture’s Donald’s development, knowing when to step in and when to back off. He is the archetypal father to Donald’s fool. The generous, always hungry and not very smart sidekick is reminiscent of the zanni characters from the Commedia del arte.

This is a well written book with a point beneath the humour. Greed is a great motivator, religion can become a method of indoctrination, rumour and mistrust can create wars, and fear and ignorance are a lethal combination.

This book looks deceptively simple, but there is a lot more to it than first meets the eye. It’s a skilfully executed work by a talented author with a unique voice. I recommend it to all who enjoy parody of either the fantasy or political kind. Perfect for cynics.

 

The Sparrow Conundrum

The Sparrow Conundrum
Categories: ,
Author:
Published: August 12, 2012
An ex girl-friend, an exploding garden, two wrestlers, multiple homicides, a sociopathic cop, and fragments of a postman. All waiting for Chris Machin – codename Sparrow. Satirical absurdity at its funniest. Chris Machin may think he’s just a teacher, but the bottom feeders in Aberdeen squabbling over North Sea oil and gas contracts prefer to use his code-name – Sparrow. When his garden explodes he takes flight, unleashing various forms of Scottish mayhem.  More complications are added by his ex girlfriend and a sociopathic policeman whose hobbies are violence, making arrests and, best of all, combining the two. Several murders later, two wrestlers, a road trip to Inverness, a fishing trawler, a Russian factory ship, and some fragments of a postman complete the enigma of… The Sparrow Conundrum. Winner of the Readers’ Choice Award for Humor and Satire at Big Al’s Books and Pals 2012. Also winner of the Humor category in the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards. “… an over the top, thoroughly hilarious send-up, brilliantly realised and tremendously enjoyable. I laughed constantly, was horrified, was admiring and totally entertained all at once. It reminded me, in the best possible way, of the work of Tom Sharpe … writing that will have you spluttering on trains as you try not to laugh out loud”. Catherine Czerkawska, author of The Curiosity Cabinet, The Physic Garden and many others.