We’ve all had that feeling of being impressed with the power of fiction to tell us the truth, in an archetypal way, about ourselves. This muscly, ingenious work of truth in fiction, available now to be ordered online, and at bookstores throughout our fair city, not least Mutiny Information Café (where this reporter will be hosting the second in a series of biweekly variety shows this coming Thursday October the 3rd beginning around 7:30 PM, don’t miss it) has inspired this reporter like no other book he’s read in years to attainment of that alchemical synthesis in his own creative efforts. The author’s similes and metaphors are at once surprisingly strange and deeply relateable. In a sense we’ve all got a voracious, mentally limited protégé to shepherd through the hardships of this world like Demetri does, to provide shelter for all the time, whether this is an actual child we’re in charge of, or simply our own inner child. What I mean is that in a sense we’ve all got authority figures like O’Neele and O.Steele dogging our every move with persistent paunchy declarations of warning and threat, we’ve all had or have now or will have someone like the beautiful Arian, Everyone scrimps and saves in a way. Demetri’s neighbor, who loves him and trusts him enough to liberate him from the lunatic frugality he’s been practicing since the unexpected death of his contractor parents, living out of a coffee can stuffed with a million dollars in large and small bills, in rigid adherence to a program of lunatic frugality, call it starvation wages (which, if not perhaps the most excellent metaphor of denial of abundance this reporter’s ever cottoned to, is probably unclassifiable). Perhaps most significantly, Arian inspires Demetri to stop being such a “hypermiler” and allow himself the full enjoyment of his prized sportscar, until her intervention driven as sparingy as possible, to save on gas.
If you like your stories perceptive, inventive and hospitable, this book will satisfy your reader’s instincts. I haven’t been so entertained and impressed by any writing in a very long time. Local author Bryan Pedas successfully creates an absurdly unlikely engaging believable micro-myth with this book, weaving us into an archetypal allegory of the outsider redeemed by dint of great suffering and comic hardship. His junk-food-voracious, strengthy retarded sister, Alaina mistaking the blowup doll Demetri has dumbly ordered by mail in hopes of a bride to save him from eviction from his uptight suburban housing development in attempted evasion of an archaic statute of questionable legality concerning “wholesomeness.” Alaina keeps tiptoeing over to the closet where Mai Keungern ("No Refunds" in Thai) has been stashed, to be shooed away by the watchful Demetri. Experience this chastisement by two impudent high schoolers resembling Lord of the Rings icons. The dwellers below resent the bombshell of a trailer Demetri and his sister inhabit way up on a hill overlooking them all and blocking at least one neighbor’s view of the sun,. They consider it a blemish on their comfortable homogenity. O’Neal and O.Steele keep showing up at the door and pressuring Demetri to paint the old shell the same dull brown color as the rest of the surrounding houses, even bringing paint samples on one occasion. Demetri’s eventual triumph over counter-archetypes like the aforementioned red faced neighbor Dinklemann, who gets madder and madder each brush with Demetri (who unfailingly rebukes him with dauntless hostile snipes, motivated only to repell him and drive him away from the unbalanced sanctuary he’s been able to provide his poor sister following the unexpected death of their contractor parents).
Rocketship is a striking departure from the only other book I’ve read by this author so far, The Sensationally Absurd Life and Times of Slim Dyson, coauthored with his best friend, A Beer for the Shower cocreator and frequent literary collaborator Brandon Meyers. The difference between the two books is such that, despite Rocketship’s deliberate, adept absurdity, it’s possessed of a deeper quality of sensitivity utterly absent in the equally great, meta-satirical Dyson book, as if its creation was in some way a deeper labor. But that’s only a guess. Some of the greatest tales I’ve ever read have showed this range of clever, unreal humor, Knut Hamsun’s Mysteries, Leskov’s Lefty. It’s wonderful to think that self-made writers like Pedas, Meyers, and many others are on the verge of reinventing the meaning of publication and authorial recognition in a sort of determined, Do It Yourself way that’s not so much punk anymore as postmodern. And that's what it means, prevailing impressively by dint of their talent and drive to attain satisfaction as writers, if not worldwide fame and respect, as it was in the old days. Perhaps. I don’t know! I had fun reading this book because it told entertaining truths about the money sucking self starving time it can be in an hospitable manner, with a feeling of having been written more as a joyous deed than a sorrowful duty (which reading books can also feel like sometimes, and you don’t even know it until you read something like this, which makes reading a fun game again!). Despite its deliberately cartoonish nature, Demetri and the Banana Flavored Rocketship in no way fails to seem valid and actual, better than truth, if you know what that means, and the writing and editing are of an exemplary quality, only adding to its greatness. This is a truly great book deserving consideration by everyone interested in reading a book full of writing with eyes in the back of its head, so to speak. Four armed is four warned. Five stars.
Just what IS the "Banana Flavored Rocketship"? Read it now to find out.