Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience)

by Ira Nayman

This hilarious science-fiction comedy novel follows the first case for Noomi Rapier, rookie investigator with The Transdimensional Authority – the organisation that regulates travel between dimensions. When a dead body is found slumped over a modified transdimensional machine, Noomi and her more experienced partner, Crash Chumley, must find the dead man’s accomplices and discover what they were doing with the technology. Their investigation leads them to a variety of realities where Noomi comes face-to-face with four very different incarnations of herself, forcing her to consider how the choices she makes and the circumstances into which she is born determine who she is.

Ira Nayman’s new novel is both an hilarious romp through multiple dimensions in a variety of alternate realities, and a gentle satire on fate, ambition and expectation. Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience) will appeal to comedy fans who have been bereft of much good science-fiction fare these last eleven years. Ira’s style is at times surreal, even off-the-wall, with the humour flying at you from unexpected angles; he describes it as fractal humour. Anyone who has read his Alternate Reality News Service stories will know how funny Ira is. The characters we meet from around the multiverse deserve to become firm favourites with all fans of science fiction comedy.

This book is on:
  • 1 Read list
Published:
Publisher: Elsewhen Press
Editors:
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Tropes: Good Robots, Parallel Worlds
Word Count: 81000
Setting: Ottawa, Canada, Earth Prime (and others)
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

He is the lurker in the shadows of the alleyways behind the eyes of inmates in asyli for the awkward. He haunts the spaces between whole numbers. He feeds on the nightmares of those who sleep soundly because they don’t know any better. He is the vaguely threatening half-heard voice that annoys you because it refuses to speak up even though it continually interrupts some moderately important task that, at that moment in time, should be getting your complete attention. Counting the cost of the compromises we make between our dreams and quality sleep time is something of a hobby with him. On any given night, you can find him in the dark dreams of vegetarian butchers. He is the ache at the center of the hole in your heart before you even know the center of your heart has a hole in it that aches. He is the pre-ache.

He has nothing to do with the story that follows.

READ MORE

He does not know this. In fact, he would be offended by this fact if he did know it. He is the lurker in the shadows of the etc. etc. He was born to be the antagonist of a story. He has been lurking in the shadows and all that since he was 12 - he is very good at it, perhaps the best in the universe. All of that work perfecting his lurking skills deserves the reward of a central place in a story. To even imagine that he would be a minor character in somebody else’s story, mentioned in the first couple of pages and then discarded like a bad memory that hasn’t quite formed a pattern in the synapses of a dementia sufferer’s brain, well, given all the work he has put into his craft, that just doesn’t seem right. That just…just…

The lurker in the shadows of the alleyways behind the eyes of inmates in asyli for the awkward realizes in mid-rant that he is out of toothpaste.

So he hops into his Prius (what? A lurker in the shadows of you know the drill can’t have an environmental consciousness?) and drives to the nearest MaxiMultiMegaMart (a wholly owned subsidiary of MultiNatCorp: “We do retail stuff”). Okay, his environmental consciousness is selective - whose isn’t? He is dressed in black with a red bow tie, because he had heard somewhere that bow ties were cool. Do not make the mistake of thinking that this is his usual lurking attire - he knew from experience that lurking in a MaxiMultiMegaMart just didn’t offer the same sense of foreboding with a hint of jasmine, that, in fact, the MaxiMultiMegaMart sucked all of the lurk out of one.

It is at the MaxiMultiMegaMart, between the aisles for household appliances, not bigger than a breadbox and weasel supplies (no, the layout of the products in the MaxiMultiMegaMart is not eccentric, it is designed to maximize impulse purchasing - you know how it works - haven’t you ever been looking for toothpaste and thought to yourself, “Hey! I should get some of that Weasel Chow, now with 27% more human disgustingness!”?) that the story truly begins.

“Boy!” a woman says. “Can I get some help over here?”

The lurker with all that descriptive baggage turns to find a well-kept, pleasant enough middle aged woman. He imagines her scrubbing a pot, really putting some muscle into it, dreading finding out what mischief the Beaver would be getting into at some time that day, maybe taking a pill to, you know, take the edge off, maybe help her keep the homicidal thoughts at bay, looking towards the time the children are old enough to bugger off and leave her to a future she couldn’t imagine but had to be better than the present she was living. In short, she reminds him of his mother, except that she absently plays with a space where her left earlobe should have been, and he is pretty sure his mother came with a complete set. Although, when you think about it, it would have saved his mother money on earrings…

“Can you tell me, please,” the woman asks, “What, exactly, the difference is between a Blendmaster 5000 with 17 levels and 12 settings, and a MixMonkey 5001, with 12 levels and 17 settings?”

He looks at the woman blankly. Part of him wonders how a blender could be considered smaller than a breadbox; perhaps the comparison was made with the breadbox on its side. But, mostly, he thinks, Is she serious? Could this woman possibly be serious? She is confusing the lurker in the shadows of the alleyways behind the eyes of inmates in asyli for the awkward with…an aisle rat in a MaxiMultiMegaMart store?

“It’s a simple enough question,” the woman, impatience creeping into her voice, states. “Are you too simple to know the answer?”

“Jesus, lady,” the lurker in the shadows of sarcasm responds, “did you buy that pearl necklace or did you mug an oyster bed?”

“Excuse me?” the woman, dumbfounded, asks.

“Nice pink dress,” the lurker in the shadows of being on a roll continues. “The fifties would like it back.”

“This is outrageous!” the woman, in a cold fury (she kept it in her freezer for just such occasions), states. The lurker in the shadows of obliviousness doesn’t notice that her voice actually got softer.

“What happened to your ear?” the lurker in the shadows that you’ve come to know and love continues. “Get too close to your pet piranha at feeding time?”

The woman stares at him in anger.

Interpretations of what happened next differ. The lurker in the shadows with poor self-preservation instincts swears that he just meant to pick a piece of lint off the arm of the woman’s dress. She must have felt that his reaching towards her was some kind of threat. Before the lurker in the shadows who maybe should have listened to his parents and taken that job Uncle Manny had offered him in his pet electro-shock therapy practice knows what is happening, the woman is standing behind him, bending the index finger of his right hand far enough back to cause him the maximum amount of pain without making him pass out. The Lurker in the shadows of a destiny he cannot comprehend doesn’t know what scares him more: the fact that his mother is bending his finger just enough to inflict the maximum amount of pain on him without causing him to pass out, or that his mother know how to bend his finger just enough to inflict the maximum amount of pain on him without causing him to pass out.

Through his pain, the lurker in the shadows of suddenly realizing what a small fish he is in the universe’s big pond, hears the woman whisper into his ear: “Did you know that there are 237 ways to kill a man with chopsticks?”

Lips trembling, the lurker who is beginning to lose faith in the shadows is about to stutter, “N…n…n…no…” - or some other cliché that people in his situation stutter - when the woman vanishes. He falls to his knees as the pain slowly ebbs out of him. A minimum wage MaxiMultiMegaMart aisle drone notices him, assumes he is praying to the god of weasel supplies and leaves him to his worship.

The lurker in the shadows of getting himself out of that damn store alive did, in fact, have a revelation on the floor of the MaxiMultiMegaMart. He realized that he wasn’t cut out to be the antagonist in a major narrative. The no longer lurker in the shadows of the alleyways behind the eyes of inmates in asyli for the awkward wondered if he could get a small part in a children’s novel. Maybe if he put on a weasel suit. Yeah. That’s it. He could be a weasel…

The Prologue is Past

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Kate Onyett on The Future Fire wrote:

EXCERPT: I did become a keen reader; I found I was drawn in, interested and amused. Overall it was a good jape, and if a healthy spot of sci-fi comedy is your thing, then it will serve you very well.

The Mole on Our Book Review wrote:

EXCERPT: It's difficult to sum this book up. Think Douglas Adams. Think Tom Holt. Think Robert Rankin. Stir it all up with a little Spike Milligan and you start to get close. It didn't have me laughing out loud but it kept me smiling, amused, intrigued and reading. A great read that is highly entertaining and while it is funny throughout it isn't the kind of story that relies on one-liners and punchlines.

Antony Jones on Antony Jones wrote:

EXCERPT: Welcome to the Multiverse is a cracking read that almost had me in stitches, fresh and original humour from a comedy genius.

Ann Dulhanty on AnnD Rites wrote:

EXCERPT: If you are looking for something completely different, executed by someone with a delightful sense of humour and keen understanding of science and human nature, this is it. There is lots to think of, or just enjoy, depending on your preference.

Eric Swett on My Writer's Cramp wrote:

The humor certainly leans toward the absurd and there are enough pop culture references, both current and obscure, to bring a smile to anyone’s face. The writing is clever and mixed up just enough to make the book something special.


About the Author

Ira Nayman is a comedy writer who stumbled into science fiction 15 or so years ago and decided to hang around and see how it played out.

He is the author of six books in the Multiverse series, the most recent of which is Good Intentions: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: First Pie in the Face. The seventh and eighth books in the series, including the second book in the trilogy, are currently awaiting a decision by Elsewhen Press. In addition, Ira has self-published 11 books in his Alternate Reality News Service series; the most recent of these is Idiotocracy for Dummies. He is also the creator of Les Pages aux Folles, a web site of political and social satire that has been updated weekly since 2002.

In another life, Ira has a PhD in Communications from McGill University and taught in the New Media Programme of Ryerson University for five years. He is currently the editor of Amazing Stories magazine. Yes, that Amazing Stories magazine.


Leave a Comment