Another Rave for the Encyclopedia Mouse!

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The following review by Laura Hinds is reprinted from Pacific Book Review:

Where do I begin? At the beginning or the end? Or should I jump right into the middle? In all likelihood, it doesn’t matter a whit.  Officially, I will call this “Science Fiction.” Unofficially, I will name it “Science Fiction Science Philosophy Genre Bending Fiction.” I think that the author will appreciate this, and that it will give readers fair warning (and thus build anticipation) as to the nature of the book they are about to delve into.

Author Tom Whalen has an amazing phantasmorgraphical imagination. Perhaps he is from a higher level dimension than the rest of us mere mortals. I’d like to think that I’ve been intellectually and spiritually challenged, if not, in fact, enhanced by “The Straw That Broke.”

The book centers around “Encyclopedia Mouse,” a small creature who has the massive ability to save the multiverse. There are stories within stories, and frankly, words that must be unique to the author that left me feeling uncertain as to which way was up. Yet, as a determined reader, I buckled down and plowed ahead to figure things out.  Encylopedia Mouse is spinning a web of tales to several minor mice, with himself in the role of Nuncle (uncle) Mouse. The Mouse faces off against enemies galore, with no shortage of narration that deftly weaves everything from philosophy to history into the story. Encyclopedia Mouse faces challenges with an inner strength that many men do not possess. He goes up against his Doppelganger, and must save the multiverse by narrating it, without regard for time nor space. Will he, or won’t he be able to defeat his Dopplelganger, and will author Bulwer Zetford finish “The Cosmic Messenger? “There are so many characters and unusual situations in “The Straw The Broke,” that the best way to read it may be one chapter at a time, and absorb that before you move on to the next, in which you will be confronted with an entirely new set of circumstances.

I am not sure if Whalen is attempting to amuse, enlighten, or educate readers, but I’m sure he will do some of each for every individual reader.  I wish that I’d had the chance to read the previous book, or books, I’m not really sure, in this series, as it may have made things clearer. Or not. Nevertheless, I was vastly amused, highly intrigued and overall would recommend this book for anyone looking for answers beyond your wildest imagination about that nature of reality, from a valiant mouse perspective, with a multidimensional twist.

If you know a Sci-fi fan who thinks they have seen it all, heard it all, and read it all, “The Straw That Broke” by Tom Whalen would be the book you want to get for holiday gift-giving. They won’t be able to put it down, and you will be rewarded with much gratitude, and lots of peace and quiet as they read for hours and hours!

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The Mouse That Soared…

“An intriguing blend of SF, philosophy, and word play . . . Giddy fun!” —Rudy Rucker

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“Call it science fiction or meta-fiction or cyber fiction . . . wonderfully funny, often exciting, always baffling, and occasionally even profound. It’s the Moby-Dick of mice!”   —R.H.W. Dillard

“Pollinates post-cyber-punk with headier poetry than the genre has yet known.”    —Andrei Codrescu

“Allusive, punning, intricately plotted and exponentially self-referential . . . science fiction which ultimately explores the science of fiction or, more aptly, the art of narrative.”  —Brad Richard, American Letters & Commentary

“Storytelling which is subtly, wickedly funny.”     —The Times-Picayune

Bulwer Zetford’s work-in-progress The Cosmic Messenger is about to take a strange turn, and the multiverse with it, when Roithamer of Relix “beads” once again and brings swirling into Zetford’s Kaduza M-mon processor the Encyclopedia Mouse, the one creature who can save the multiverse. Tale twines tale as the mouse battles his Doppelgänger in cyberspace, Heidegger in his Black Forest hut, and a hyper-crazed Roithamer. Death is everywhere, but the mouse, birling (if only barely) in his Binding Nexus Drive, is determined to narrate the universes away from their demise.

Dive into August with a stunning work of speculative metafiction. This is seminal post-cyberpunk with wicked Oulipian twists, crafted by a master of innovative fiction.

THE STRAW THAT BROKE
A novel by Tom Whalen
6” x 9”, trade paperback original. 172 pp.
$14.95  /  ISBN -13 978-0692259436

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tom-whalenTOM WHALEN is a novelist, short story writer, poet and critic who has written for Agni, Asymptote, Bookforum, Chicago Review, Fiction International, Film Quarterly, the Washington Post and other publications. His books include Dolls, Elongated Figures, The Birth of Death and Other Comedies: The Novels of Russell H. Greenan, and the novels Roithamer’s Universe and The President in Her Towers, which John Warner in the Chicago Tribune called a “mash-up of Kingsley Amis and Italo Calvino. A strange, surreal and wonderful novel.”  Whalen currently lives in Stuttgart, Germany, where he teaches film at the State Academy of Art and Design.