A review of Welcome to the Multiverse* by Ira Nayman

There are many other Nayman hilarities. The sentient kitchen, for example, is so possessive that if a human tries to boil an egg ‘it turns the heat up so much you could melt a pavement.’ Science too gets the treatment. The blank pages between p236 and 241 are not a typo but an example of b=rd2 where b = number of blank characters, t=time and d is the speed of lunch squared.

 

Reviewed by Geoff Nelder

Welcome to the Multiverse*
by Ira Nayman
Elsewhere Press
Kindle, File Size: 595 KB, ASIN: B00A45ACTA, 8 Nov 2012
Paperback, 336 pages, 30 Mar 2013, ISBN-13: 978-1908168092

I nearly didn’t receive Welcome to the Multiverse* for review. My letterbox has slimmed over the years and so the postman leaves packages behind the bin, in the bin (only once), and with neighbours, but last month he gave it a boy, who was chasing pigeons on my drive. ‘Take this to your mummy,’ the postie said. So the lad grabbed the packet, ran past the postman and up the street, his legs going like egg-beaters. I don’t think the postman will make that mistake again. An apt beginning, though, to the bizarro world surrounding this book and its contents.

Noomi Rapier, a young woman with black hair strands that all stick out at 90 degrees to each other, is our main character and we follow her strange career as a Transdimensional Authority detective. Her inauspicious beginning was at her investiture where by being presented with a yellow vest, the reader is welcomed to one of the first of many puns – mostly hilarious and lateral thinking. Noomi is given as rookie assistant to the experienced Crash Chumley. Before she develops boredom coming to terms with office protocols, such as knowing the Ten Demandments, they are given a murder mystery. Yes, like all the other stories by Ira Nayman, this is hilarious and yet the reader is poked into thinking beyond the conventional.

Interestingly, this novel has a traditional detective framework even if the setting is in a multidimensional multiverse* in which the two detectives meet several doubles of themselves – a cunning disorientating ploy by their suspect, who toys with a prototype Home Universe GeneratorTM. So, we meet the detective novel conventions of man and woman detectives teaming up – and falling for each other in spite of their friction; solve a who-dun-it crime mainly by interrogating suspects and witnesses, and driving around a lot (in a fun Dimensional DeloreanTM).

The difference is that it all takes place in and between universes, where sentient gadgets speak to each other, and with Nayman’s unique bewitching style. And where mysterious characters, such as the one with my favourite name, Jessica Cornflake, appear as a side issue, she pops up at the end making perfect sense (comparatively).

Sex also has a different role in this novel. Besides the gadgets TOM and CATE being told to get a room, the narrator tells us that explicit sex will not be found and that ‘you know how it is… if not you should get out less.’ Further to telling us about the no sex (because they are almost always mind-bogglingly 50 shades of dreadful), we are treated to an item by Frederica Von McToast-Hyphen writing for the Alternate Reality News Service, quoting explicit sex scenes to demonstrate the point. Hah.

There are many other Nayman hilarities. The sentient kitchen, for example, is so possessive that if a human tries to boil an egg ‘it turns the heat up so much you could melt a pavement.’ Science too gets the treatment. The blank pages between p236 and 241 are not a typo but an example of b=rd2 where b = number of blank characters, t=time and d is the speed of lunch squared.

There are more quotes I could throw at you but you must find them for yourself.

There are times when the plot seems laboured. For example the visit to the prison sags somewhat and I don’t think the reader needs four versions of Noomi Rapier to make the point of mulitverse life. Even so the novel is up there with the best of bizarro work such as those by D Harlan Wilson.

Welcome to the Multiverse: Sorry for the Inconvenience is science fiction in a way, comedy in a way and a detective novel in a way. Read it and you will be a changed person.

*Sorry for the inconvenience

About the reviewer: Geoff Nelder lives in rural England within easy cycle rides of the Welsh mountains. He is the author of Escaping Reality Exit, Pursued by Bee, and ARIA: Left Luggage (Volume 1).

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