Thursday, April 24, 2014

Unhinged, The Naked World

U and X are the entries where I'm fudging the most.  Because there aren't any books I have with U and only 1 with X but that was a long time ago and it's never been published because it's a fanfic.  And I don't think I have any names beginning with U or X either.  So just deal with it A to Z Nazis.

Anyway, the simplest way to explain The Naked World is to say, what if one day Adam West is watching the old Batman show on TV and decides he really is the Caped Crusader and puts on his costume to fight crime?  That's what happens to Henry Barton, a washed-up actor who starred in a 60s superhero TV series called The Grey Knight.  A friend buys him the DVDs of the show and that combined with an upcoming movie reboot of the series prompts Henry to get out his old costume and rampage through the streets of a small California town righting nonexistent wrongs.

Accompanying him is his only friend, a 13-year-old kid named Tony.  Tony knows Henry is doing more harm than good and wants only to get his friend back to his nursing home quietly, so Henry doesn't get into trouble.  That becomes increasingly difficult as Henry gets mixed up with a local politician who manipulates Henry's madness for his own gains.

The story uses an unusual format in that there are essentially two versions of most chapters.  One version is what Henry sees, which is a big city full of criminals in black hats and damsels in distress.  The other version is what Tony sees, which is usually Henry inadvertently terrorizing people who are pretty much minding their own business.  Like in Man of la Mancha there's a whore who Henry thinks is the love of his life; her daughter soon becomes the love of Tony's life.

To be self-critical, this is probably my most pretentious book.  Instead of trying to invoke Man of la Mancha and all that Impossible Dream stuff I read the actual book of Don Quixote, which to me seemed like pretty much the opposite of that.  I mean in the book Don Quixote is a complete buffoon who nobody likes and actually seems to do more harm than good.  This was when the "war on terror" was really looking grim so you could think of Henry as George W and Tony as sane, rational Americans.

At some point I'd like to rework this book to make it bigger because this version is only about 55,000 words.  I think to do that I'd have to set it farther back in the past, before we had cell phones and Predator drones and the NSA monitoring every phone call so it'd be pretty easy to find a lunatic running around pretending to be a superhero.  Though Hollywood has stolen this idea numerous times since I wrote the book; it's pretty much a cliche at this point, so I might never bother with it.

Of course The Grey Knight was originally The Scarlet Knight, but I changed it so as not to conflict with that franchise.  It's also a sort-of sequel to The Leading Men, which recounts the rise and fall of the TV show back in the 60s.  If you want something less pretentious and more of a soap opera, you should read that.  They're both only 99 cents, so why not read both?

This and the rest of my books are available at the new Planet 99 Publishing site


  1. The minute I read the description I thought of "Man of La Mancha" which is a cool idea.

  2. I was about to say the premise of this sounded a lot like Don Quixote. :)

  3. Interesting post, and I'm glad I joined is your newest follower. Your first line is the one that had me laughing though, because I'm writing my posts as I go and therefore, I haven't gotten to X yet. But I know I'll be sweating a little when I do. :-)



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