Self-Published Genius #22: The Postman

This may be the thundering climax of our series about Self-Published Geniuses. Heretofore, we’ve brought you news of authors with a vanity press book in which the author claims to have made paradigm-shattering discoveries, and who announces his work by hiring a press release service.

This time we’ve got the press release and the vanity press book, but the author hasn’t written about his scientific insights regarding creationism. No, dear reader. This is special. Today’s author has written a science fiction novel — inspired by Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

The press release is issued by an outfit we’ve encountered before. It’s called PRWeb, which “gets your news straight to the search engines that everyone uses, like Google, Yahoo and Bing.” Their Pricing page reveals that their “Standard Package” costs $159. We assume that’s what we’re dealing with here.

The press release is titled New Sci-Fi Book ‘Slow Time’ by Michael Bershay Examines Humanistic Ideals, Challenges Fundamental Beliefs. That title is revealing. Professional science fiction authors usually consider the term “Sci Fi” to be pejorative, using it only for children’s movies about cuddly alien animals and friendly robots. The actual literature — by masters like Heinlein, Asimov, etc., is called either “science fiction” or just “SF.” But today’s author uses Sci Fi.

You’re probably wondering who the author is. At the end of the press release we’re told:

Michael Bershay is a life-long resident of Portland, Ore. His career as a carrier for the United States Postal Service finances his hobbies, which include video production, animation and music. Slow Time is his first novel.

We assume this novel is also his first published work, or else the press release would have mentioned the others. Okay, let’s dig right in. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Author Michael Bershay began writing the science fiction novel Slow Time after the Intelligent Design trial in Dover, Penn. in 2007.

Slow time indeed. The trial was in 2005. But we can understand that the trial might inspire a science fiction novel. After seeing the antics of the Dover School Board, your Curmudgeon was briefly tempted to write something tentatively titled: They Came from the Seventh Planet. (That’s a joke, dear reader.) Let’s continue with the press release:

“I had an overwhelming urge to express my opinions after the [Intelligent Design] trial ended”, said Bershay. “I wrote a book that sheds light on certain individuals who have been misunderstood or falsely represented during their time in history.”

Misunderstood? Like the school board creationists? We continue:

In Slow Time, the reader gets acquainted with The Baasians – an all female alien race from the not-so-distant planet Baas. Throughout history, the Baasians visit Earth and begin adopting humans that have been outcast from society. The aliens are eager to better understand human beings.

Not much of a concept, but we’ve seen worse. Here’s more:

Eventually arriving in modern Portland, Ore., the Baasians must rely on a homeless, disgraced science teacher, Charlie Schwitters, to help them do what their advanced technology could not – deal with modern humans!

A disgraced science teacher? We’re not told what caused his disgrace. It could have been that he was dating his students, but somehow we suspect that he was teaching creationism. And if we’re correct, then a creationist is the hero of the novel. Moving along:

“This is science fiction that is emotion-driven, with an ensemble of characters unusual to the genre,” said Bershay. “Slow Time invites an array of discussions and ideas.”

Unusual characters? Yes, that’s probably true. Creationists are rarely the heroes of science fiction novels. Here’s the end of it:

Bershay touches on humanism and Christian fundamentalist ideals throughout Slow Time in order to spark a conversation as well as to challenge one’s belief system.

Want your belief system challenged? This is your big chance. We found the book at Amazon: Slow Time. There’s not much information there, and no reviews yet, but they tell us that the publisher is Xlibris. Yes, they’re a vanity press.

Well, what are you waiting for? This may be your only opportunity to buy some Kitzmiller science fiction — with creationists as the good guys.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Self-Published Genius #22: The Postman

  1. Charlie Schwitters. You can bet that if this book is ever made into a movie, the hero’s name will be changed.

  2. retiredsciguy says: “You can bet that if this book is ever made into a movie, the hero’s name will be changed.”

    Yes, they’ll call him … retiredsciguy.

  3. Curmy says: “…your Curmudgeon was briefly tempted to write something tentatively titled: They Came from the Seventh Planet.”

    Had you written such a novel it would have gone down in the anals of science fiction.

  4. Oh, schwitt! I don’t know how, but I’ll get you for this, Curmy!

  5. Tundra Boy says: “it would have gone down in the anals”

    Yes, it would have been a best-seller in Canada.

  6. It’s perhaps revealing that a letter carrier would title his first novel “Slow Time”.

  7. Ceteris Paribus

    Not intending be a spoiler, but it is rumored that Bershay’s draft outline for the movie screen play was accidentally delivered to the wrong address, and subsequently leaked. The plot turns out to be a reprise of the movie “9 to 5”.

    The all female alien race from planet Baas sends an expedition to capture creationist Charlie Schwitters and get him to stop telling lies to little children.

    As did Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lilly Tomlin in the original 9 to 5 flick, the Baasian women employ simple human technology in the form of a garage door opener, and S&M paraphernalia, to help Schwitters repent of his wrong ways.

    The incomplete draft ends with the handcuffed and trussed Schwitters spinning helplessly from the door opener cable.

  8. anevilmeme

    Aren’t most creationist writings technically science fiction?

  9. anevilmeme asks: “Aren’t most creationist writings technically science fiction?”

    No, more like fantasy. Science fiction usually has a credible science component. Well, time travel is an exception, and so is faster-then-light travel, but still — creationism is all religion.

  10. “They Came from the Seventh Planet”

    With a name like Schwitters, we could have some fun with that reference.

  11. Just a reminder — tomorrow (Sunday, 5/12) is Mother’s Day.

  12. Maybe the author refers to DaDaist Kurt Schwitters the founder of Merz who built the Merzbau aka “Cathedral Of Erotic Misery”.

  13. Curmudgeon: “They Came from the Seventh Planet. (That’s a joke, dear reader.)”

    If you don’t get the joke, watch the episode of “The Wonder Years” where Ben “Expelled” Stein teaches about planets.

  14. “A disgraced science teacher? We’re not told what caused his disgrace.”

    Actually, Amazon has the first six chapters of the book which you can read if you click on the book cover. Chapter 5 is “Meeting Charlie Schwitters” where we find out he is 43, has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Gonzaga and a Ph.D in paleoanthroplogy from Cornell. He was teaching at Aterwood Middle School in Wichita Kansas where the PTA was “predominantly hardcore Intelligent Design advocates.” Charlie led a successful fight to have the teaching of ID removed from the curriculum. His “disgrace” came when he gave a failing grade to the daughter of “strict evangelical Christians.” When Charlie tried to meet and discuss this with her, she faked an attempted rape. Charlie was railroaded and served a year of a seven year sentence before he was exonerated. Needless to say, the stink of being accused of child molestation ruined his career.

    Maybe Charlie eventually turns creationist, but initially he is solidly on the side of evolution.

  15. Thanks for that, RogerE. Perhaps I misjudged the postman’s book. But I still have doubts.

  16. It would be a story worthy of its own Chick Tract.

  17. Buckaroo Banzai: There! Evil PURE AND SIMPLE by way of the Eighth Dimension!