Career Day for Jim

figurehead -- wooden mermaid

School was lame. Adults were lame. Life, itself, was a series of lame events. None more so than Career Day.

These were the thoughts of Jim as he walked into the gymnasium for the Beaverbrook High career day. At least he didn’t have to sit through the tedium and ennui of Mr. Leekie’s calculus class, or the thinly-veiled bipolar disorder of Ms. Bentz, his English Composition teacher.

Jim suppressed the memories of Ms. Bentz’s painfully lame, manic, dark poetry, and checked out this year’s Cavalcade of Losers. These were the employers, the good corporate “citizens” of his home town with suggestions on how its young adults could plan for an exciting life serving hamburgers.

At least he wasn’t in class.

He had to admit, the selection was good this year, if pointless. There were some lawyers, some engineers from the city, and a large crowd of kids was milling around the booth hosted by a company in town that made web games. As if, Jim thought.

He sighed. This was his last year in high school and he still didn’t know what he wanted to do. His marks were good enough for university, but he knew his family couldn’t afford it — and the thought of taking all that debt was just too much. His family was on the verge of losing their house. He wasn’t supposed to know that, but he did. It was hyper-lame.

Then he heard a voice behind him: “Arrr Jim, have ye’ considered a life at sea?”

Feeling the ennui? Pirate a smile with this funny fiction.

Books of Mark A. Rayner

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Alltop be fond of Talk Like a Pirate Day. Have a good one, ye’ bilge rats.Figurehead by Scottnj. Originally appeared in Pirate Therapy and Other Cures, 2012.


How I Spent the Ice Age


Mountains, snow, and glacier -- Chile

[transmission begins]

Hey bud!

The new arms weren’t as much fun as I hoped they’d be, but they were sure useful during the crisis.

As you know I’m not really into the bodmod community, but I’d always thought it would be cool to be able to swing from tree to tree, the way we saw the Reclaimed Gibbons do in the preserve, when we were in high school. Yeah, the one down in Souwesto, near the ruins of Toronto, remember? That was a great trip.

Check these out: I got new arms a few weeks before it started. They weren’t actual Gibbon arms, of course, but a beautiful bit of work by a friend of mine, who dabbles in bio-enhancement. She mostly works with nano, but I keep telling her she has a real flare for the genetic arts too, so she did a combination. The plan was to spend my vacation swinging with my simian friends in Souwesto. Tree swinging that is.

Of course I got the hair on them; I’m not totally fake!

My musculature had just finished healing — even with the latest developments, flesh bodies adapt slowly to nano — but I don’t need to tell you that do I? Duh. I sometimes forget that we’re all real time now, even you guys on Big Red.

Anyway, the worst happened while we were at the peak of seeding the atmosphere with sulphur to counteract the Great Warming. Multiple eruptions all around the world. Temps dropped. The snow started falling. Piling up. And bam. Ice age.

In miniature, anyway. Of course, it couldn’t last, but the damage. Wiped out my Gibbon buddies in Souwesto. And froze all of us out of Nunavut.

But these babies were awesome. You know how much easier it is to ski and snowshoe if your arms can provide half the power? The hair was useful too — an extra layer for warmth. And I’ve been told big arms are awesome in zero-G, so I think I’ll keep them until after I visit you.

Though I’m sure it still won’t be as weird as your green skin, man. That I have to see with my own eyes.

Feeling the chill? Warm yourself up with some funny fiction.

Books of Mark A. Rayner

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Alltop swings with the yuks. Photo by Stuck in Customs.


IndiePicks Magazine Loves The Fatness

indiepics mag
Great review in the January 2018 edition of IndiePicks Magazine!

Keelan Cavanaugh has been sentenced to a very different kind of prison. Uncomfortably installed at the Calorie Reduction Centre (CRC) — also known as the Fatness, or the Girth Gulag — he will lose weight, whether he wants to or not. In Rayner’s newest work of satire, anyone with a “few extra” must go to the CRC or lose their insurance, their jobs, or worse. There’s a bright spot for Keelan, though, for it is at the CRC that he meets Jacinda, an activist attorney looking to expose the CRC. Ironically, she gives Keelan a reason to make the program work — he now wants to look his best. But it’s not as easy as counting calories. Here, even personal weight loss is mired in bureaucracy and miles of red tape. The story holds up mirrors for social issues including the basic respect due all people and the need to cast a wary eye to the further privatization of health care. There’s humor and heart resident in Keelan’s story, as well as a sly inclusion of actual science. The Fatness is an ideal suggestion for fans of Christopher Moore’s absurdist delights, or for readers of dystopian fiction who could use a side of levity with their otherwise totalitarian buffet.

You can check out their online issue here.


London media cover The Fatness

Mark taking a bite out of his novel

Photo by the London Free Press

My thanks to the following media outlets for their recent invitations to chat about my new release, The Fatness.

On New Year’s Day, the London Free Press published an article titled: “Satirist takes a bite out of obesity epidemic”

My thanks to Dan Brown for a truly enjoyable interview and an insightful and well-written article!

Then on January 3, I did two live radio shows. In the morning I was in the studio at CJBK with the talented broadcaster and fellow writer, Lisa Brandt.

You can listen to our conversation on the CJBK morning show here.

The day wrapped up with a live interview I did with the affable Chris dela Torre, at CBC London. (AKA Radio One, 93.5 FM.)