About Mark A. Rayner

Human-shaped, simian-obsessed, robot-fighting, pirate-hearted, massively-bestselling wannabe, Mark A. Rayner is an award-winning writer of satirical and speculative fiction.

Tweeting in two places may break my brain

And god help me if I ever get confused!

vs

Alltop has always been as funny as twain.

Everyone’s a critic

Most Unconvincing Bear Award-winnersHank didn’t care that act had won the Most Unconvincing Bear Award six years running. He had been practicing on his flugelhorn, and he was sure that this season would be different.

The crowds were going to love the new routine: the breathtaking flugel-glissandos, the ursine feel to the dance, and his hat. God, they were going to love the tassly bits on his hat.

Carl had no such illusions. He did, however, pray for the sweet release of death.

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Alltop loves tassly hats. Thanks to Foxtongue for the pic. Originally published April 2009.

Academic Dumas-ery

an adjunct's taleKane X. Faucher’s latest novel is a brilliant adaptation the classic Alexander Dumas tale of revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo.

I’ve always loved the original, and Faucher’s book is a wonderful satire that cleaves to the original plot so carefully, I was continually impressed. I kept thinking, “There’s no way he can maintain this!” But he did. So, I would encourage you to read the original story at some point if you already haven’t, so this pleasure is not denied to you.

In Professor Montgomery Cristo: An Adjunct’s Tale, Dantes is an up-and-coming academic. A PhD candidate with a glorious academic future ahead of him. But then he is wrongly accused of plagiarism (the academic equivalent of murder) and his hopes are dashed. Instead of prison, Dantes’s is sent to a second-rate university, where he must toil as an adjunct professor, where he meets another sessional who will help him achieve his revenge on the jealous academics who ruined him.

All the bones of the original story are there, and then fleshed out with this wonderful satire of the unjust treatment of sessional teachers at modern universities. Sometimes called contract faculty, the life of a sessional can be tough. Particularly when you are on what is called a limited duties appointment, which is renewable term by term. This means sessional don’t always know what they are teaching or even IF they are teaching next semester. The pay is low, and there are often no benefits. At many universities upwards of 40% of courses are taught by adjuncts.

All of these injustices – and many more — are satirized by Faucher in this novel, and it is really worth your time. Now in interests of full disclosure, I must tell you that I have been, and am, a contract faculty member, and that Kane is a colleague, but this is a wholehearted recommendation. This book has the pacing of Dumas and the wicked sense of humor and genius of Faucher.

Alltop loves a good adjuncting.

The Halloween Feast of Madness Bird

women eating hallucinogenic  turkey with pumpkin-headed man

Say what you will about Marge and Delia, but they served a mean turkey dinner.

Sure they might have been witches. Sure, they tended to use a little too much salt when they were cooking. (Probably from all the dehydrated eye of newt, which is very high in sodium, but they could never seem to find it fresh.) Sure, they had a questionable living arrangement, vis-à-vis men with pirate shirts and pumpkins for heads. (Who may or may not have been called Angus McGourd.)

Put their peyote stuffing (with pine nuts and dried) cranberries was delectable.

Alltop likes a little LSD in it’s mashed potatoes. Disturbing photo via Twisted Vintage. Originally published October, 2010.