Friday, April 21, 2017

Time Binge and Purge: A Gluttony of Fun

It's hard to think up images to illustrate book review posts, so here's my hand
holding the most recent book on the balcony of my hotel room in Amsterdam's
beautiful Museum Quarter. Sorry, did this caption turn into a humblebrag? I
really just took this as a fun pic to show the author. It wasn't mean to be a dick
move. Sorry. (But I was totally just in Amsterdam.)

Disclaimer first: I "know" Martina Fetzer, the author of the books I'm about to write about. I put "know" in quotation marks because our only contact has been through Twitter, and she could actually be a loosely organized group of serial killers pretending to be a single author. It happens.

But assuming she is Martina, I "met" her when she wrote, via tweets, an extremely stomach-churning and yet hilarious pornographic story involving a mutual friend (Starfall webcomic creator Adam Blackhat) and Donald Trump. I was in a long line at the post office while she was tweeting this opus, and it was the only time (thus far) I almost wet myself trying to hold back laughter while waiting for a certified mail postmark. So I bought her book Time Binge.

The book in question

Time Binge is a time-traveling comedy starring supernatural-investigating secret agents (and lovers) Eddie Smith and Arturo Brooks; Patience Cloyce, a Puritan teenage girl executed for witchcraft in the 17th Century; Lemon Jones, a teenage girl from a 23rd Century hipster colony on the moon; and Hudson Marrow, an eccentric and immortal renaissance man.

Hudson invented the time machine, and, as tends to happen, things got out of control. Now Agents Smith and Brooks need to save the world - or at least Manhattan - while also dealing with the past and future traumas that complicate their relationship. Meanwhile, Patience dutifully tries to adjust to her new surroundings and early-21st-Century-history buff Lemon delights in vintage Brooklyn.

Slight spoilers ahead as the sequel is discussed after the next "damn it, what am I going to use to illustrate this book review post?" image.

I told Martina I kept picturing Agent Smith as Agent Smith from The Matrix,
but she told me he looks more like Wash from Firefly. (My car is also named
Agent Smith, but I don't picture Agent Smith as my car.)

Fetzer's skill in balancing a Rube Goldberg machine of a plot, compelling characters, Airplane!-style zany humor, and sincere human drama returns in Time Purge. This sequel, released March 21, finds the make-shift family of Smith, Brooks, Lemon, and Patience alive in contemporary Manhattan. Smith, however, is not adjusting well to happily-ever-after. He and Brooks spent their entire relationship knowing Brooks would die, and now that they have a reprieve as a cyborg and an immortal with also-immortal teen daughters, he flounders.

After Smith's emotional instability results in an international, televised incident, the couple finds a maybe-enemy, maybe-ally in Godwin Zane, an obnoxious actor/would-be Elon Musk-ish CEO/actionless superhero (his powers are lava and being gray). Also there's a vampire problem, the return of the universe-threatening rift, and (at last!) Fetzer's specialty: a scene of off-putting, disappointing sex.

For Lemon and Patience I'm picturing something along the lines of Amandla
Stenberg and, despite the too-modern 1872 clothing, Victorine Meurent in
Manet's The Railway. (Obviously not Victorine Meurent in Manet's Olympia.
Patience would be mortified.)  

Fetzer's books are a fun, moving delight - and there are at least three more planned! I'm impressed by her bravery in self-publishing (and by her doing it so well), and I hope her cast of characters find the audience they deserve. You can buy the books (in various formats) here, and her author website is here.

Image info:
Time Binge and Time Purge covers: J. Caleb Design
Amandla Stenberg: Ben Toms for Teen Vogue