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News, announcement and events related to Mark’s writing and other stuff you may find interesting.

The Fatness is live!

The FatnessMy fourth novel is available as of today! 

It’s a satire about concentration camps for fat people and bureaucracy gone mad. (Don’t worry, it’s a love story.)

This crazy book was 12 years in the making, so I hope you enjoy it. Here’s a quick synopsis, and more purchase links below:

Synopsis

Keelan Cavanaugh is fat. That’s why the government put him in prison.

They placed him in a Calorie Reduction Centre (CRC), where trained staff work to help him and many others slim down. Well, that was the intention, anyway. The powers that be had decided chubby citizens must either go there or lose their health care coverage.

When he meets Jacinda Williams, an activist lawyer researching this new system, Keelan is more determined than ever to slim down. But Keelan discovers losing weight is more difficult than it seems, especially when he also has to fight against a ridiculous bureaucracy and policy wonks with hidden agendas. Can he succeed? Will the CRC-crossed lovers ever dine at love’s banquet together?

From award-winning author Mark A. Rayner, The Fatness is a contemporary satire of socialism, capitalism, and the so-called “obesity epidemic”. This is Catch-22 for a new generation, with a distinctly tender undertone, even as it mercilessly spoofs the establishment.

Critical reception

As of today, with 20 ratings, it’s got 4.4/5 stars on Goodreads, and the Amazon reviews are starting to come in (4.5/5 so far)

“Mark A. Rayner—an all-Canadian synthesis of Douglas Adams and Ben Elton—understands that the best satire is only five degrees to the left of reality. The Fatness may not be reality (yet), but it’s too close for comfort. Luckily, it’s also funny as heck.” ~Corey Redekop, author of Shelf Monkey and Husk

Buy the Book

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New fiction: The Real Primo

Cover for the Corvus Review, Fall 2016
Corvus Review just published a new short story that I’ve been noodling with for some time: The Real Primo. (pp. 59-67)

If you’ve ever watched (and enjoyed) Groundhog Day, or read Friedrich Nietzsche’s difficulty concept of the Eternal Return, or have a passing familiarity with the “Eastern” concept of reincarnation, then this story will appeal to you. Here’s the opening lines:

The Real Primo

by Mark A. Rayner

Would you believe me if I told you Buddha had the set up all wrong?

It didn’t dawn on me right away. One moment I was in my rental car, minding my own business, and the next, there are headlights shining in my face. The driver looked up at the very last minute, shock on his face. Thinking about it, he was probably texting, or maybe working on his laptop, but he was definitely not paying attention to the road. He’d slipped across lanes, in the dark, doing about 60 miles an hour. His massive truck intersected with my non-upgraded, economy rental car – a Chevy Spark “or similar” made out of tissue paper and paint. That was the underwhelming end of both the car and what you might think of as my life.

There was a horrible screeching sound of metal and machine disintegrating, a flash of terrifying light and a moment of exquisite, transcendent pain. It was more than just a physical pain. It was a feeling of loss, of absolute tragedy; but also, mixed in with the sadness, a feeling of warmth and love. There wasn’t time to remember anything. There was a blurry light, and the sound of a baby crying.

Read the rest of the story on pages 59-67, here.

The 14 people you need to help you decide if you should publish or not

There are three things that I love about this:

  1. they are tremendous and witty words of wisdom from Mark Twain.
  2. it is narrated by John Lithgow, who’s voice alone makes me laugh.
  3. the sleeping man scares me, and reminds me to be entertaining, as he should.

In Twain’s own words:

“But the man whom I most depend upon is the man who always goes to sleep. If he drops off within 15 minutes, I burn the book. If he keeps awake three quarters of an hour, I publish, and I publish with the greatest confidence, too. For the intent of my books is to entertain and by making this man comfortable on a sofa and timing him, I can tell, within a shade or two, what degrees of success I’m going to achieve.”

–Mark Twain

via Brain Pickings, and the New York Public Library’s Live from NYPL program.