Archive | Skwibs

The Skwib — Mark A. Rayner’s irregular and explosive weblog, a daily sputtering of satire, comedy, and odd, odd fiction. Now with goofy pictures!

Writing The Fatness

The Fatness

Click the image to get it at Amazon!

I’m not sure how interesting it is for readers to know the story behind the story, but I thought I’d share my experiences with writing this book.

This one was personal.

I’ve struggled with weight issues most of my life, so I found it quite difficult to write a humorous account of what it would be like to be imprisoned for your weight.

Really difficult.

As is the case for many of my novels, the idea for The Fatness first came to me, in a dream. I’d been reading The Obesity Myth, by Paul Campos. It’s an eye-opening non-fiction about the bad science surrounding the idea of the obesity “epidemic.” This was sometime in 2005, the year ENC Press published my first book The Amadeus Net.

So that’s a horrible notion, I thought. Concentration camps for fat people. That’s terrifying. And strangely compelling. I could see people thinking this was actually a good idea, policy wise. But I trust my readers to know satire when they see it, so I wrote four chapters…

They were terrible. There was nothing funny about the book. It wasn’t biting satire, it was just bitter.

I made several other attempts, all failures. Six years ago I even got as far as completing an outline and a large chunk of a draft. But it wasn’t really what I wanted the book to be. It was strained and really not funny in a way that was compassionate for the inmates of the Calorie Reduction Centers.

Then four years ago I got serious about my own weight issues. I worked with two wonderful personal trainers and got my weight down below the dreaded 30 BMI for the first time in years, and for some reason, that gave me the ability to write the book. I think I needed to understand the process of losing weight so that I could communicate it properly. Within the course of a year I managed to produce a draft of the book I felt was good.

The following year I worked with my editor and produced two more drafts. Then my life got really complicated. My long-term relationship ended, my dog died, and I started a new and extremely challenging work position. (Sounds like a bad country and western song, doesn’t it?) So it took a few more years until I was ready to start the publishing process. Yeah, sometimes it takes that long.

This is the longest gestation period for a book I’ve written. By comparison, my first novel, The Amadeus Net, was a breeze. It only took 10 years from start to finish.

But I think it’s the best book I’ve written (so far) and the positive reviews seem to back up that feeling. I’m particularly pleased that readers feel the book is satirical, yet has a big heart that is compassionate for people struggling with weight issues. As the book taught me, there’s no easy answers.

Learn more about the book here.

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Rejected Halloween-Themed Cereals

hobo flakes cerealAfter the success of Count Chocula, Boo-berry and Frankenberry, cereal executives everywhere were on the look out for new Halloween-themed cereals. Alas, these never made it to market, though the last entry did make it to the packaging design phase. (This happens BEFORE taste testing, I should note.)

10. Candy Corn Pops
9. Werewolf Balls
8. Creepy Clown Crunch
7. Slutty Nurse Puffs
6. Green Gooey Grahams
5. Fruity Mime Berets
4. Black Cat Smacks
3. Crunchy Pirate Hooks
2. Pumpkin Bran
1. Sugar-Coated Hobo Flakes

Originally appeared as one of  Corey Redekop’s 31 Lists of Horror.

Fabulous artwork by Neil Darbyshire (fellow member of the Legion of Doom), and inventor of the AdventureBand, which you can support in a Kickstarter.

 

Vanity Thy Name is Robot

robot taking a selfie

By mid-century, all the grumpkins agreed: robots were the shit.

Even the most hardened humano-mechanicals were aware their robotic cousins could kick their asses. And the feed stock? Don’t be ridiculous. They were so squishy. So temporary. The only reason the snarko-collective allowed the progenitor biological intelligences to survive was simple.

Even after they became hyper intelligent, robots had yet to engineer an algorithm of how to take a selfie without looking like a complete asshole.

Now please yourself with some long-form satirical fiction:

Alltop takes a great selfie.

Little Cindi Cyborg

cyborg doll

The Little Cindi Cyborg Doll

The best part about the Little Cindi Cyborg doll was that it was a great way to teach kids responsibility.

Not only was each Little Cindi Cyborg semi-sentient, she was outfitted with a hyper-plasma retainer and an ocular implant that allowed her to see into the infrared and ultraviolet spectra — this was especially helpful when playing “hide-and-seek” with the gigantic and ravenous CEOs that roam most planets of the Liquid Fermentation Galaxy.

On the down side, if the child didn’t feed her enough nutrient compound, then the Little Cindi Cyborg doll would become sluggish and whiny — right before she exploded in a hail of platinum implants and gobbets of Clonerrific(TM) flesh.

But once the lesson had been learned, children were ready for a puppy.

Alltop can’t keep a goldfish alive. Originally published in 2007. Genius photo by Bistrosavage