Higher Intelligence, Peter Atwater
On the surface, Higher Intelligence is a science fiction novel about human conflict with a life form on another planet. At a deeper level, it is a metaphor for our treatment of animals who many humans consider to be of inferior intelligence, and the natural environment in general. At its heart, the novel reveals critical life themes about animals, the environment, and what happens when humankind’s penchant for controlling both reaches its inevitable tragic conclusion.
Cubicle Dreams, Drew Pilansky
If you have ever felt pulled apart between your loyalties at work and your personal life, you have lived Cubicle Dreams. This novel exposes the illusions and skewed priorities we are all taught to buy in to, and uncovers how the value system of the American workplace twists our private lives. Throughout it all readers will vicariously vent all of their own private fears and frustrations. They will unleash the conflicts within their own “double life” at work and at home as they travel through the warped odyssey of one man just trying to get it right. Cubicle Dreams tells the bittersweet tale of what happens when people discover too late that they had everything they needed all along.
Not for Public Consumption, Frank P. Lipton
Not For Public Consumption, the novel: Renegade, fringe and rebel tasty, this life on the edge story-within-a-story about outliers, social outcasts, and people who have a lot of secrets delves deep into that precarious place where normalcy ends and madness begins.
This book is a wonder! I am surprised it is not mentioned more because it is absolutely brilliant. The paradox of our reality being an illusion so dependent on individual perceptions and experiences is brought out beautifully. It is also a reaffirmation that it is okay to not fit in, to not care about public opinion, to be essentially free. Five stars and more !!
Friction in Motion, Simon Kadella
This dysfunctional family road trip is on the spectrum and off the beaten path…Ride along on a bumpy cross-country road trip with a highly dysfunctional family. On this trip an emotionally detached child prodigy with a history of therapist visits encounters a cast of quirky characters who validate his wishes to live his life independently. But none of the characters found on the road end up being as path-altering for him as his own immediate family. There are many lessons along the way. The most important being that wherever there is motion, there is bound to be friction, and within this lies the secret to wisdom and the strength to break free.
Literary Book Review
In this YA novel by Sy Kadella, young readers will hop in the car and ride along on a bizarre and funny cross-country road trip with a highly dysfunctional family and see all the people encountered through the eyes of an autistic teenager. On this trip the main character, an emotionally detached child prodigy who is on the spectrum, encounters a quirky cast of characters including a mobster uncle, a channeling aunt, a Native American healer, and a depressed punker who has read The Bell Jar five times. But none of the characters found on the road are as odd as the protagonist’s own immediate family. There are many lessons along the way. The most important being that wherever there is motion, there is bound to be friction, and within this lies the secret to wisdom and the strength to break free. A unique and deftly crafted novel, “Friction in Motion” is unreservedly recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction collections.
Children’s Bookwatch: October 2018
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane Donovan, Editor
Fiction/Absurdist stage play
Subway Vision, the stage play, Murray Bardos
All aboard for a satirical, absurdist play that examines the human condition through murder-by-wishful-thinking, a twisted, dead bride wedding-turned-memorial-service, and a bizarre murder trial where a homeless-man-turned-attorney reveals all you need to know to understand why people behave the way they do—all taking place during an existentially-bumpy subway ride.
Includes Bonus stage play, “Halfway There”
Subway Vision was performed at the Hilton Centre for the Performing Arts, by the Classic Theater Guild’s Annual New Play Festival in New York.
Jagged Little Edges, J.M. Frank
Intelligent, satirical and slightly dark short stories…Existentially baked to a crusty finish.
This collection of short stories includes the award winning ‘Lessons in Time’ and ‘The Fetal Executive’.
Featured Fiction from Aussie journalist and fiction writer Neal Vaughan
The Record Store at the End of Time, Neal Vaughan
Power pop saves the solar system from rogue cops and over-consumption in this fantasy sci-fi. It is an asteroid of sanity in a universe of reality TV, neo-fascist economics and Justin Bieber fans. This off-center read embraces a relevant social undercurrent – especially relevant if the dumbing down of contemporary music and political culture makes you want to throw things at the TV.