A trip of a book in which any resemblance to The Odyssey is purely coincidental. Homer didn't even know penguins existed.
1 WHAT GENRE IS UNENDING WONDERS?
Literature. How easy is that? No genre. Just literature.
2 DOES IT HAVE SEX IN IT?
Yes. It's not erotica but there's sex in it. Dark comedy sex. Funny and kind of disturbing sex. Sex with a point, and the point is that some people really should have better boundaries.
3 IT'S A COMEDY?
You're only hanging around because I said there was sex in it, but that's all right, though I should warn you there's not a lot of sex in the book. But I found a work-around that makes it a moot point whether or not there's a hell of a lot of sex in the book, as the universe is all about sex. I cover that in the book, and one of the characters has difficulties coming to terms with this revelation.
Yes, by the way, it is a comedy. I say that Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin is serious comedy for thinking people.
4 HOW LONG IS IT? CAN I READ IT IN A NIGHT?
You're asking all the right questions. It's very fucking long. It's thick with words long. Full of stories and digressions kind of long. There's no reading this book quickly, but people who read it say they don't want to read it quickly. They like to reread and reread pages, absorbing them and getting the full heft of them.
5 THAT SOUNDS KINDS OF WEIGHTY.
Which is why I made it LOL funny. To ease the pain of heavy lifting.
6 I'M A READER WHO LIKES WEIGHT. IS IT WEIGHTY ENOUGH?
It's weighty, but I'm sly about it. The characters do most of the heavy lifting and being knocked around. The meaning of life is their roadrunner and they're the coyote getting pianos dropped on them out of the sky blue in the desert.
7 WHAT'S UNENDING WONDERS ABOUT?
That seems like it should be such a simple question, doesn't it, but as the plots of my books aren't intended to be the end-all-and-be-all experience, the question always stumps me. My books aren't just about a story or characters, though I take great care in building what I hope are strong and very believable characters that will stick with the reader and be as immediate for them as they must be for myself and do become for myself.
In this book, a woman, just before her wedding, runs off with the wedding gifts, and it's probably just as well as, initially, no one is that interested in looking for her. Noises are made about being interested in looking for her, but no one really cares. She even has to trick an old no-longer-friend into driving cross country with her for company.
Peculiarly, it's a little problematic that I'm a woman writing a book with such a plot. If I happened to be a man writing about a woman running off with her wedding gifts, people would expect it to be about something more than a woman stuffing her car with all the silver and disappearing. They would expect it to have social relevance and be of substance. Because I'm a woman, most people are going to think that's the story and that there's nothing more to it than that.
8 A WOMAN ESCAPING AN IMPENDING WEDDING WITH ALL THE WEDDING GIFTS. I DON'T KNOW. THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE HEFTY LIFTING TO ME.
I don't know what isn't serious about skipping out on your wedding at the last minute and taking tens of thousands of dollars of gifts along with you to support you in your next phase of life. Faith falls and hits her head and the next thing she knows she's stuffed the gifts in the gift of an old Ferrari and is running off, though she doesn't yet admit it to herself. She immediately happens on an old friend, Chance, who's a not-living-wage-earner living in her automobile, and tricks her into a cross-country ride, less fleeing the wedding than looking for a future. People think Faith is a nightmare asshole, but I like her. She's Mephistopheles to Chance's Faustian nature. What Faith thinks she wants is her boyfriend's father, Grant, a golf shop owner. She flees toward his rocky mountain vacation home in Utah, believing his soul will hear and understand and that he'll follow. Chance agrees to go because (1) her friend is crazy and needs help, and (2) she hasn't been on a cross country trip since she was a kid, when she saw the Great Penguin in the desert. She agrees to play guardian, hoping to find that enigmatic great penguin again. Along the way they meet up with a road band composed of musician's musicians playing crap music for a living. They form a caravan out of New Orleans for the western wilds. Their journey is a road map of OUCH, THAT HURT!
Some of the stories are true. Fictionalized but based on fact. I spent years on the road, so I know something about all those ouches and how unglamorous the road life is. Plus, we never had money, and when you're on the road you get very intimate with your vehicle and what it might be like to be homeless and living out of it, because you are. You're essentially homeless for weeks and months at a time, and most traveling troubadours don't make much money. They survive by sleeping on in vans and on floors.
Also, I was very concerned about the then rapidly increasing, vast divide between the one percenters and the four percenters and the rest of us. This was long before anyone began discussing that economic chasm, but I was alert to the canaries piling up at the entrance to the coal mine.
So, these two women are out on the road and, in the meanwhile, the families of the bride and groom, back home, are blowing up, because though they may not care about the disappearance of these women, the upset destabalizes the little gravity that's kept them bound together and to earth. I hesitate to say more about this because there's so much about the progression of the various stories that is fun to discover as you read.
As you will see, I leap right into the main plot of Faith absconding with the gifts and skipping town. Anyone who picks up this book and reads the first paragraph will know immediately what it's about.
9 SEE THE WORLD. WAIT. SO, IT'S A ROAD TRIP NOVEL. HAVEN'T THERE ALREADY BEEN ENOUGH ROAD TRIP NOVELS AND MOVIES?
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper ended Easy Rider by getting their characters killed, which was only to symbolize the uselessness of their trip, the trip, and their spiritual bankruptcy in that they erroneously thought they could find in Florida what they'd failed to locate in their own Hollywood back lots. They should have known better. Dorothy of Kansas had been spreading the gospel for years. But Frank Baum neglected to say that some people have better back yards than others. Actually, to move into unfamiliar territory means, sometimes, to be forced into seeing the world in a new way.
Plus, they have to find the Great Penguin. Or, Chance has to look for the Great Penguin. They have to do the road thing.
10 CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WITHOUT ANY SPOILERS?
I'll try. Watch the animation below.
Plus, Chance ends up in a near catatonic state from philosophical shock. But the journey of how that happens has to be experienced in the reading.
11 THAT'S A SUPER CHEAP LOOKING KIND OF NOT AN ANIMATION. YOU DID THAT YOURSELF?
You think that's cheap looking? This is my visualization of what happens when they run into a giant man-eating tumbleweed.
The video's supposed to look like what it is. That's part of its charm. Thank you for noticing.
12 WHY'S THE BOOK COVER DIFFERENT IN THE VIDEO?
That was a limited edition first printing. In other words, I thought better of the cover and formatting and changed it. Not that I wasn't fond of that first cover. I still am. But I thought better of it.
13 WHAT'S THIS ABOUT THE GREAT PENGUIN?
I saw it. With my own eyes. I was ten years of age.
How I saw it went something like in the video below, like how Chance saw it when she was a kid and must search for it again. It had the exact same quality of magic.
Chance fully expects the penguin to be there, by the way. There's no reason for her to believe it shouldn't be out there, a giant fiberglass penguin in the desert.
14 YOU'RE SAYING IT'S A BOOK WITH MYSTIC LEANINGS?
And it's highly political. The mystical is nothing if not mind-fucking, anti-traditional politics.
15 AND IT HAS SEX IN IT?
Grant Harm and his lawyer, Priscilla Paisley, like to meet at a little hideaway called the Oasis. She likes to pretend he's James Bond.
But everything, as I said, is about sex.
Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin is a veritable titanic of Pathos, a little sugar seasoned with an ocean of salt effervesced with laughing gas. Serious funny business for readers who would rather sink into their stories rather than skim on the waves.
16 WHY IS THE BOOK ONLY FOR SALE ON LULU?
You mean why is it self-published, or why only have it available at Lulu? I self-published because it's literary fiction and I expected I would never find a publisher. As for why it's only at Lulu, the price hike to publish a paperback at Amazon is pretty high, this is a thick book, and I didn't want that kind of imposing price. I may eventually give in and put it up for sale at Amazon as well.
I have no plans presently to did a Kindle version because of its length.
17 WHY DON'T YOU HAVE REVIEWS?
Look at how I allow me to ask myself embarrassing questions such as this. Gutsy. I don't have reviews because people haven't written reviews. Why don't you buy it and carry it around proudly like you're reading the next, big, unknown thing that deserves to be known and tell everyone how great it is. When you're done reading the book, write a review and post it at Lulu.
18 WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DID YOU SAY YOU DID FOR THIS BOOK?
Life. Life on the road. Plus I did journey across the U.S. looking for the Great Penguin of my youth. That trip eventually germinated the novel. Of course, it was nothing like the trip in the novel, though we did visit some of the places in the novel. I made the trip with my husband and we just had a great time outrunning snowstorms. Crossing over the Hoover Dam did do a number on our car, as in the book. We didn't stop in Las Vegas. We had planned to stop, but after so much time in the desert, when we got into Las Vegas, the last thing we wanted to do was ruin the peace of the desert with its craziness.
19 WHAT ELSE CAN I BUY OF YOURS?
Check out the books page for information on The Rhetoric of Streets and Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine.
20 CAN I READ A CHAPTER?
Certainly! Go to the books page for a pdf of the opening chapter and images of the first pages of the chapters.
21 ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT THE BOOK?
There's a lot of sociology in the book.
Click on the cover to purchase.
When you get your book, send me a pic of it with you or in its new home and I'll post it on FB.
22 What if a person can't afford the paperback but wants to read your book?
Truly can't afford the paperback? Let me know and I'll send you a pdf. I am too well aware of what it is to want to read but not have the cash for a book.