Reviewer Richard Bunning: Richard is an author of books ranging from speculative fiction, (SF), to adaptations of neoclassical plays. He is a national of the UK and NZ and lives in Switzerland. He is active on Twitter, @RichardBunning, often as an indie writers’ advocate. Richard reviews here because he knows the importance to both authors and readers of finding independent opinions. You can find more information about Richard by clicking on his WEBSITE
Author: Paul Cicchini
Author: Paul Cicchini
This concise, humorous, book is absolutely splattered with modern cultural references, and amusing interpretations of the gods of Classical Greece, which can’t help but connect with most inhabitants of the English speaking world. It is hard to go through many lines without finding oneself painting pictures, with all Cicchini’s quick-fire, skimming, mentions. Before long I found myself imagining Cicchini’s crazy chain of eccentric thinking as a cartoon, even though there is not so much as a line drawing anywhere in the book. The whole thing is a little bit Douglas Adams, a little bit Walter Sellar & Robert Yeatman (“1066 And All That”), or Terry Gilliam, or Disney’s “Hercules” and all floating in a Manga world. One may well be reminded of the quirky teacher, who is or was one of the few to inspire you in school; not always quite funny, not always quite to the point, not always quite on your planet, but always engaging and inspirational. This is a book, once started, will almost always be finished and remembered.
Cicchini uses Greek mythology and a heavy dose of the absurd to encourage all, whether we are fortunate enough to still be in the dissidence of youth or in the sometime depression of decline, to lighten up, and cheerfully make the best of our limited talents. We certainly aren’t confined to the original Greek/Biblical use of “talent” as money. Take this message on-board, but don’t for a minute think of this book as being preachy or as some sort of comic “how to be as great as me”. Cicchini is loud on irreverent fun and merely suggestive of dogmatic sermon.
At times in this book I felt more as though I was a listener from the audience of an entertaining speaker, rather than reading quietly to myself, as though watching a pacey lecture with plenty of funny slides. We are one second with Tolkien, the next with Justin Bieber. One time we glance at an image from Clement Moore’s “The Night before Christmas” and then next a sequence from “Pimp my Ride”. A moment later and Athena is defending us from the Gorgons and then before one can blink Hermes is stealing cattle from Apollo. If this book was a painting, it would be busy, bright, even garish, pop art. Its cheerful chaos would say, “lighten up, and try and do what you can to make life just a touch more bearable for everyone in it”. This book isn’t going to interest those who prefer to avoid playful flippancy, and ridiculous comedy, but it worked for me.
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