Friday, October 26, 2012

Guest Post - Falstaff's Big Gamble by Hank Quense

On Tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Falstaff's Big GambleFalstaff's Big Gamble
by Hank Quense
Paperback, 215 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Strange Worlds Publishing


This novel is Shakespeare's Worst Nightmare. 
It takes two of the Bard's most famous plays, Hamlet and Othello, and recasts them in Gundarland. There, Hamlet becomes a dwarf and Othello a dark elf and Iago and his wife, Emilia, are trolls.
If that isn't bad enough, these two tragedies are now comedies with Falstaff, Shakespeare's most popular rogue, thrown in as a bonus.
Both Hamlet and Othello are plagued by the scheming Falstaff, who embezzles money from Othello. After Hamlet becomes king (with help from Falstaff) the rogue becomes the dark nemesis behind the throne

This guest post is so entertaining... it is my pleasure to share it with Colorimetry readers!! Please welcome Hank Quense

Guest Post:

Avoiding the PC police

When you write satire as I do, you run the risk of a confrontation with the Political Correctness Police. Satire, by its nature, is the art of poking a pointy stick in the eye of a subject.  Usually, the subject is a powerful organization and the subject frequently doesn't like getting poked.  The PC police also like to get into the act and accuse authors of insensitivity or outright bias.

To me, the difference between humor and satire is rather basic.  I write humor to make the readers smile or laugh. My satire has a dual purpose; to make readers think and to make them angry.  The satire can also produce laughs,  but the laughter is of a different ilk that what my humor produces. Satiric laughter has an edge to it that isn't found with straight humor.

I write two types of satire.  One type is my scifi and fantasy stories.  The second is my commentary on modern life. In either cases, I'd rather not risk getting the PC on my case. To that end, I've developed methods that allow me to produce satire while not attracting the attention of the PC.

Let's talk about the modern life satire first.  I'm the CEO, chief editor and reporter (under more than a dozen pseudonyms) of Faux News Network.   My Faux News Network publishes satiric news items two or three times a week. 'Faux' is the French word for phony or fake.  Typical recent reports include "Bishop demands access to parishioners checkbooks" and "New Jersey declared Corruption Free" and "New reality show revealed."

All of these "news" articles are clearly labeled as Faux News Network reports making it hard for anyone to conclude I'm being politically incorrect.  These news items are published on my blog and are attracting more and more visitors to my blog site.  The FNN reports are my way of inserting a dose of reality into the nasty and crazy modern society.

The other way I produce satire is via my stories and novels.  Here, I poke fun at institutions and organizations rather than people.  The problem with satirizing people is that the satire can have a short shelf life.  For instance, satirizing a politician will only be relevant as long as the politician is in politics.  If he gets thrown out of office by the voters or by the police, the satire becomes dated and stale.  The same thing happens if the politician dies.  In that case, the satire can be construed as mean-spirited.

Instead of people, I satirize organizations in my stories  My favorite targets are bureaucracies, political parties, religions, governments and the military.  In this last, I'm aiming at the Pentagon, not the troops who go in harm's way.

In the novels, I go out of my way to make some of my characters as politically incorrect as possible and readers love it. The trick is to use non-human characters.  The PC cops only patrol human interactions and getting involved with non-humans will only confuse them.

Let me use some of my characters and stories as examples.  In Falstaff’s Big Gamble,  a Shakespearean spoof that takes place on a planet populated by humans and fantasy creatures, the elves are quite politically incorrect.  They gather in large groups called families.  Each family is headed up by a Godmother, a middle-aged, vicious female.  Each family controls all aspects of crime within its boundaries and is ruthless with outsiders doing criminal business in its territory.  The elves all have names ending in vowels and similar to human names from a Mediterranean country.  To date, no one has called me on these Mafia-like elves, perhaps because the Mafia doesn't exist (according to the Mafia's lawyers).  However, if I used a group of Italian-Americans as my crime family, I have no doubt several law groups and societies would be upset, but since the criminal element is a group of elves, I can write about them with impunity.

In my Zaftan novels, my aliens are also great violators of PC-ness.  These massive, foul-smelling, squid-like creatures believe murder and treachery are social skills.  Successful acts of both are proudly added to their resumes.  In addition, they are bullies and believe other races were put into the galaxy to serve zaftans.  When I use these aliens to showcase corporate greed, or government incompetence or group un-PC-ness, the satire is highly amusing.

In Chasing Dreams, a novella in my collection,Tales From Gundarland I have a pair of twin brothers demonstrating how to be politically incorrect. The brothers are yuks. Yuks resemble orcs, but aren't as friendly.   During the course of the story, they progress from strong-arm thugs to highway robbers.  After retiring from the highway gig, they steal stained glass windows from a church and hold them for ransom.  Later on, they buy a shop and convert it into a combination saloon, gambling den and bawdy house.  In the end, they use their ill-gotten gains to buy votes and win a mayoral election. In other words, these guys revel in being anti-PC and no one gets upset with them. Buying votes with money from suspicious activities also seems to be a very human-like characteristic.

To conclude, I'll share a secret about writing satire.  it doesn't work unless you satirize something you feel strongly about.  The more strongly you feel about the subject, the more effective the satire will be. In other words, if the subject doesn't piss you off, don't try to write satire about it.

About the Author:

Hank Quense writes humorous fantasy and science fiction along with an occasional article on fiction writing. He lives with Pat, his wife of many years, in Bergenfield, NJ. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Bergenfield is located 15 miles from midtown Manhattan. Midtown is frequently referred to as the entertainment center of the galaxy because so many extra-terrestrials go there on vacation. A favorite vacation package for these visitors is to get a gig driving a taxi for a few days.
To date Quense has over three dozen stories and articles published. His novel Fool's Gold is a sci-fi retelling of the ancient Rhinegold myth. Tunnel Vision, a collection of twenty previously published stories. Both books are available in ebook and print formats . 
Build a Better Story is non-fiction and will help fiction writers with a process to develop a story.
Tales from Gundarland is a collection of humorous short stories and novellas.
He is presently working on a trilogy that is a blend of fantasy and science fiction and a fantasy novel.

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