In Bad Actors: Second Pi in the Face, veteran Canadian author Ira Nayman serves up offbeat hilarity with a side order of satire. Bad Actors is the seventh book in Nayman’s Transdimensional Authority series, and the second in the Multiverse Refugees Trilogy.
One of the distinguishing features of Nayman’s writing is an irrepressible wit. One needs look no further than the titles of his books, which include You Can’t Kill the Multiverse (But You Can Mess With its Head) and The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There, to get a feel for his humour.
In the first book in the Multiverse Refugees Trilogy, Good Intentions: First Pie in the Face, readers were introduced to Rodney Pendleton, the first alien from Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega to be relocated to our version of Earth. Rodney’s migration to our planet is necessitated by the fact that his version of Earth is located in a dying universe. In fact, all of the inhabitants of Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega will need to be moved. Rodney is simply the first to call our Earth home.
Good Intentions focusses largely on Rodney’s relocation, and the ups and downs of his adjustment to our world—and our world’s adjustment to him. Bad Actors follows up on the first book by fast-forwarding to a point in time in which more of Rodney’s kind have moved to our world. Spoiler alert: not everyone is happy about that.
Rodney’s people can’t help standing out. For one thing, they are only four feet high. For another, they have blue skin and wear exquisite three-piece suits. And there are significant cultural differences, based on the realities of their world. On Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega, Rodney’s people have the ability to re-shape matter. Without the need for work or money, their culture has evolved such that their main occupation is seeking the approval of the omnipresent Audi Enz (audience) by provoking laughter. Another of their cultural conventions is to have a gap between first and last names; hence the spelling of Rodney Pendleton.
As anyone familiar with Nayman’s work might expect, Bad Actors is steeped in humour in a variety of forms, including ridiculous situations, slapstick, tangential digressions, and word play. It’s helpful to take one’s time reading Nayman’s writing so as not to miss any of his funny references, which range from in-your-face obvious to subtle-enough-to-miss-if-you’re-not-careful.
But beyond providing plenty of opportunities for laughter, Bad Actors has a more serious side, exploring the impact of racism and discrimination. It’s clear that many people believe Rodney’s kind are inferior simply because they are different. One individual is quoted as saying, “Everybody knows blue people are stupid and lazy.”
Among those who object to the arrival of Rodney’s people are a white nationalist group that calls themselves the “Sea Otters of Odin.” Members of the Sea Otters “insist that they’re not racist—they just don’t want to have anything to do with people who aren’t white.” The Sea Otters join a Humans for Humanity rally, which aspires “to stop the alien invasion so that we can go back to hating each other as the good Gord intended.”
White nationalist groups aren’t the only target of Nayman’s satire. He also pokes fun at politicians, police detectives, and corporate culture, among other things.
In the “Acknowleduction” of Good Intentions, Nayman shares his motivation for writing the Multiverse Refugees Trilogy, noting:
My father came to Canada as a war orphan from Europe in the late 1940s, while my mother’s family fled persecution in Russia a generation earlier. I know what refugees contribute to the country, and have been incensed by the increasing xenophobia in both my country and the world at large.
Nayman’s passion for this issue comes through clearly in Bad Actors, adding extra bite to the satire. While Bad Actors can be read as a stand-alone, readers will obtain a more rounded picture of the inhabitants of Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega by reading Good Intentions first.
Ira Nayman is a debonair humunculus of mystery who leads an exciting double life as an author of humorous divertissements. He has self-published 12 books in the Alternate Reality News Service series, the latest of which is code-named Good King Wrenchless (but is really named Welcome to the Insurrection (We’re Not Sorry For the Inconvenience)), as well as XBT12 (Idiotocracy for Dummies, an omnibus volume containing the first three Vesampucceri books). Bad Actors is the seventh novel in the Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse series, the second in the alien refugees trilogy. Ira has also been assigned a bottom secret mission to promote the 20th anniversary of his web site, Les Pages aux Folles, which will take place in the first week of September, 2022. The birthplace of both the Alternate Reality News Service and the Transdimensional Authority, Les Pages aux Folles’ weekly updates of social and political satire will fill 38 books and comprise somewhere between two and two and a half million words. Ira was also the editor of Amazing Stories magazine for two and a half years, and is past President of SFCanada, the organization of science fiction and fantasy professionals. Or, at least, that’s his cover story and he’s sticking to it.
- Publisher : Elsewhen Press (Oct. 10 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1911409840
- ISBN-13 : 978-1911409847
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Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. Her writing has appeared in New Myths, Star*Line, The Future Fire, Triangulation: Habitats, and other venues. Lisa’s speculative haibun collection, In Days to Come, is available from Hiraeth Publishing. You can find out more about Lisa’s writing at http://lisatimpf.blogspot.com/.