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.