Jul 14, 2008

Who's reading What this Summer? Episode 6 - Mark Rayner

Next up to the plate: Canadian author and website guru Mark Rayner. Mark was my professor in a website architecture course, but he's also an accomplished satirist and novelist, with a twisted take on the world and a love of a good pun. Mark is the author of The Amadeus Net, a deeply warped sci-fi/fantasy that's easy to love, and even easier to promote. He's also a founding member in the Emily Chesney Reading Circle, a brilliantly funny faux-history of the writings of one of Canada's first speculative fantasists.

From Mark's Bio:
Mark was born in the Atomic Age, and is still pleasantly surprised that he was not vaporized in the mid-80s.

Early in life he wanted to be a pirate. He was disappointed to learn that since the Age of Sail, piracy has mostly been the vocation of lawyers and corporate accountants, so he set his sights on the exciting new career of explorer.

Then he turned six. Since then, his range of careers has been nothing short of spectacular, something from the Age of Exaggeration:

mountain climber
singing telegram delivery man (freelance gigolo)
journalist (indentured gigolo)
evil marketing genius (slave gigolo)
positive thinker.
Throughout these varied and most interesting careers, Mark has maintained his love of storytelling. (Even when his Mom told him to "stop it, for the love of God, stop with the stories!" --sorry Mom.)

His own tale is currently set in London, Ontario (Canada), where he shares a home in Old South with his partner, Heather, and their two furry faux-progeny: Mr. Magoo (handsome heavyweight cat) and Ceilidh (goofy giant white doggy).
And on Mark's night-table?
I've finally gotten into my summer reading, so here's the rundown on what's happening with the pile. I've recently finished:
A fictional history,
Roma, by Stephen Saylor, which is a great read, especially if you're into the whole Rome thing. (It takes you from the time of legends up until Augustus.)
Then I read a collection of short stories about the consummate poltroon, Sir Harry Flashman, VC, called
Flashman and the Tiger. I love the character created by George McDonald Fraser, but this book was a bit disappointing compared to the novels. (Still, McDonald Fraser's disappointing is still entertaining.)
Next on my list of things to read is
Theodore Rex, the second volume in Edmund Morris's masterful biography of Theodore Roosevelt. Right now I'm about two-thirds through the first volume, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. Morris won the Pulitzer in 1980 for the bio, which reads like a well-paced novel, and crackles with wit.
The rest of the pile looks like this:
Martin Amis -- House of Meetings
Michael Chabon -- The Yiddish Policeman's Union
Neil Gaiman -- Fragile Things
Richard Kaempfer - $everance - "A scathing satire about the current state of the consolidated mainstream broadcast media, an insight into the way the political parties have converted broadcasting into a partisan screech-fest, and a spotlight on who and what really runs the media."
This is published by ENC Press, who published my first novel,
The Amadeus Net. I've read a number of the other authors that Olga has published, and I've enjoyed every one immensely, though I have to say my favourite so far is fellow Canadian Craig Forgrave's Devil Jazz, in which the Devil recruits the souls of Hitler, Marylin Monroe and Van Gogh to bring about the end of days.

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