Re: The Ant King

I seem to be a Benjamin Rosenbaum fan. I enjoyed listening to the silly, dotcom picaresque of “The Ant King: A California Fairy Tale” from the absurd beginning.

Sheila split open and the air was filled with gumballs. Yellow gumballs. This was awful for Stan, just awful. He had loved Sheila for a long time, fought for her heart, believed in their love until finally she had come around. They were about to kiss for the first time and then this: yellow gumballs.

And so the narrator, Steve, did the only thing that made sense. He founded a gumball company. On the eve of the IPO, she appears in a dream, begging him to rescue her form the Ant King. While he is sneakily pushed out of his own company by the corporate types, he goes after her. With the help of his crusty IT guy, he goes through a Zork hack to reach the Ant King. Steve endures peril and betrayal, only to lose everything at the end, and then get picked up and brushed off for another adventure. Very silly.

I have to admit I had a little trouble paying attention, as the story caromed between episodes like a pinball between bumpers. Each episode made sense in its own bizarre way, which meant you can lose the thread of the quest and still pick it up again. But it also means, even after I paid more careful attention to a second listening, it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s just…silly.

I get an extra bit of joy when I come to the end of a fun story and learn more about it, and find out it’s the author’s first sale. The same is true of “Wikihistory” and “Conversations With and About My Electric Toothbrush.” I guess when I find I story I like and it’s good enough to make a sale, it’s reassuring, because I’m trying to write stories I like.

I hope that makes sense.


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