Sunday, August 7, 2011

"My Favorite Band Does Not Exist," by Robert Jeschonek

"My Favorite Band Does Not Exist," (MFBDNE) tracks the progress of two young men, one who has a complex about being controlled by others, the second fearful of failure.

They are unfamiliar with one another, but Idea Deity has confected a fake band over the Internet that has gone viral, at the very same time Reacher Mirage's rockin' combo is rehearsing under THE VERY SAME NAME.

Author Robert Jeschonek has gone Yin-and-Yang, sun-and-moon, night-and-day, complete-me-complete-you in a text that fully embraces dualism and puts his protagonists on a track towards unity. It's for their own good and for the good of the "chain of realities," or something like that.

Their progress is aided by two sprightly girls, each with a tattoo of the other's face on the back of her head. Jumping back between Reacher's and Idea's stories, MFBDNE also inter-cuts with a novel both men are simultaneously reading called "Fireskull's Revenant."

It would result in a spoiler to say anything more than that the protagonists' fates are inextricably mixed with the two comic book-style characters, Lord Fireskull and Johnny Without, the author fashions in some alternate reality.

Follow? It's not that complicated really. MFBDNE is nothing if not a smooth read.

Mr. Jeschonek's background includes turns as a writer of the Pocket Book "Star Trek" series, podcasts, a Twitter serial, and work for D.C. comics. His first novel follows in the same vein.

There is just enough characterization to make this a novel and something other than a comic-book-in-text. Jeschonek's little machine of counterweights inter-spliced with a metaphor-laden fantasy book drives itself nicely.

He even takes Miguel Unamuno's "Abel Sanchez" a step further, empowering Idea, as character, to rebel against the intentions of his creator/author and choose a proper destiny.

For all its cartoon-like pyrotechnics, MFBDNE is mostly an oneiric yarn concerned with interior lives of its primary subjects.

The test for individual readers will be whether they care if Idea and Reacher resolve their inner conflicts. It's highwayscribery's guess younger readers will while their elders shrug.

Don't let the edgy, punky cover fool you. Jeschonek's are straight ahead, white-bread prose that take no chances and break no new ground.

That said, he writes the heck out of his story, fully developing his many threads, punching up his yarn in every sentence, and with every named character, so that nothing seems lazy or unnecessary to the piece. It is hard not to be pulled along by the writer's exuberance, as he barrles forward, tongue ever in cheek, playfully approaching his task.

"My Favorite Band Does Not Exist," is meant for the denizens of the younger generation currently afoot and, perhaps, for those who want to understand something of their reality.

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