From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain

Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter com I am the original author of this essay as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted here illegal I v

(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegal.)I've mentioned this before, but for those who missed it and still don't know, the 1980s and '90s saw within science-fiction the development of what's now known as the "Dark Age;" informed equally by punk and postmodernism, it was a time of brooding introspection in the genre, when such traditional stereotypes as superheroes were psychologically examined to determine both the reason for their existence in the first place and in which ways these stereotypes could be cracked in our contemporary times. And sometimes this resulted in serious projects, such as Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, one of the seminal titles of this period that helped inspire the term "Dark Age" to begin with; but what has lasted much longer is the compulsion to create comedic material out of such fodder, from classic movies like The Specials and Mystery Men to Austin Grossman's recent and delightful Soon I Will Be Invincible. And now we have yet another example, absurdist author Minister Faust's From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain, which essentially covers the same ground as all the rest -- bored, petulant super-neurotics turn on each other once all super-crime has been vanquished, thus necessitating New Age psychiatric help lest they go too crazy and lose their lucrative commercial endorsements -- albeit to his credit, Faust inventively ties his particular look at this milieu metaphorically to the fate of the US after the end of the Cold War, giving us a confused and increasingly spoiled group of superfriends in the face of a complete lack of supervillains in their egotistical, entitled, all-powerful lives.But there's a problem with this book, a big problem, which is that once Faust makes his metaphorical point, he has almost nothing else of originality to say; and so how he fills the rest of the novel is by having his utterly banal one-note characters endlessly spout tiresome dialogue reinforcing the one note of their personalities (a Britney Spears superhero who always talks in Valley-speak, a black superhero who always talks like Superfly, &c.), along with an infinite amount of petty arguments within the group therapy sessions constantly being forced on them by their superiors throughout the book. It's essentially 25 pages' worth of story surrounded by 375 pages of corny punchlines (and for ample proof of this, see the unbelievable 165 chapter and subchapter titles [yes, I counted:], every single one of which consists of a bad pun involving superheroism); or if you prefer, it's Alan Moore's Watchmen as rewritten by a playground full of 12-year-olds. Dr. Brain unfortunately misses its satirical mark by a wide margin, and it's my recommendation today that you skip it altogether.Out of 10: 5.8The best From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain Creat Minister Faust are Ebook An outlandish, outrageous tour de force by the most innovative prose stylist in the field Robert J Sawyer, author of HominidsThey re Earth s mightiest superteam and dysfunctional as hellNIPOTENT MAN a body with the density of steel, and a brain to matchTHE FLYING SQUIRREL aging playboy industrialist by day, avenging krypto fascist by nightIRON LASS mythology s An outlandish, outrageous tour de force by the most innovative prose stylist in the field Robert J Sawyer, author of HominidsThey re Earth s mightiest superteam and dysfunctional as hellNIPOTENT MAN a body with the density of steel, and a brain to matchTHE FLYING SQUIRREL aging playboy industrialist by day, avenging krypto fascist by nightIRON LASS mythology s greatest warrior but the world might be safer if she had a husbandX MAN formerly of the League of Angry Blackmen but not formerly enoughTHE BROTHERFLY radioactively flyPOWER GRRRL perpetually deciding between fighting crime or promoting her latest album, clothing line, or sex scandalHaving finally defeated all archenemies, the members of the Fantastic Order of Justice are reduced to engaging in toxic office politics that could very well lead to a superpowered civil war Only one woman can save them from themselves Dr Eva Brain Silverman, aka Dr Brain, the world s leading therapist for the extraordinarily abled Faust has pretty much invented his own genre He s totally original, full of surprises Richard K Morgan, author of Altered Carbon Samuel Delany, Harlan Ellison, and Ishmael Reed all rolled into one Faust s writing is biting, insightful, and hugely entertaining Ernest Dickerson, director. Minister Faust is a long time community activist, writer, journalist, broadcaster, public speaker and martial artist in several disciplines.Minister Faust refers to his sub genre of writing as Imhotep Hop an Africentric literature that draws from myriad ancient African civilizations, explores present realities, and imagines a future in which people struggle not only for justice, but for the stars.He lives in Edmonton with his wife and daughters, where he also runs Canada s top bean pie bakery, Desserts of Kush.. Good Kindle From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain My essential ethos with book recommending has been to let bad book fall into the obscurity they so richly deserve--any kind of attention a terrible book gets fans that spark of interest in it... and there are so many good books out there deserving of attention and praise.So, I hardly (I think never) rate a book 1 star. I just leave it off the radar-you won't know I even read it.But in the case of this book I have to make an exception.Having read the delightful "Soon I will be Invincible" by Austin Grossman, I was disturbed by how poorly written this book was. The tone was hackneyed and uneven; little episodic bursts meant, I guess, to emulate the "In the Meantime" of comic book narrative.Like Grossman's novel there are allusions to existing superhero characters (Brotherfly = Spiderman, The Flying Squirrel = Batman)and teams, cute creator names-as-locations (Los Diktos), but what derails this book is a sense of agenda--I don't know if Faust means this as an homage to comic book culture or a bitch-slap wake-up call; there's an almost Scientologist-like glee in messing with the processes of psychoanalysis; a weak, ham-fisted attempt at addressing the racist mis-steps of Comic Books of yore. Ultimately ideas are retread again and again into flatness, ludicrousness. The spur of my writing this was it's mind-boggling runner-up status for this Year Philip K. Dick Award. This book shouldn't have been on a short list, let alone a long one. I feel that Faust's editor should've sat him down and helped him trim the manuscript, tighten the narrative, and brush off that chip on his should before finalizing the book.

About Author

  1. Minister Faust is a long time community activist, writer, journalist, broadcaster, public speaker and martial artist in several disciplines.Minister Faust refers to his sub genre of writing as Imhotep Hop an Africentric literature that draws from myriad ancient African civilizations, explores present realities, and imagines a future in which people struggle not only for justice, but for the stars.He lives in Edmonton with his wife and daughters, where he also runs Canada s top bean pie bakery, Desserts of Kush.

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From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain Comment

  1. My essential ethos with book recommending has been to let bad book fall into the obscurity they so richly deserve any kind of attention a terrible book gets fans that spark of interest in it and there are so many good books out there deserving of attention and praise.So, I hardly I think never rate a book 1 star I just leave it off the radar you won t know I even read it.But in the case of this book I have to make an exception.Having read the delightful Soon I will be Invincible by Austin Grossm [...]


  2. Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted here illegal I ve mentioned this before, but for those who missed it and still don t know, the 1980s and 90s saw within science fiction the development of what s now known as the Dark Age informed equally by punk and postmodernism, it was a time of brooding introspection in the genre, when such traditional stereotypes as supe [...]


  3. This book reliably gets compared to Soon I Will Be Invincible , which I feel is kinda inappropriate Grossman s novel was an homage It wasn t there to do anything new, and do nothing new is exactly what it did it was silly, made jokes we already knew, made the punches we ve seen in comics we ve read put out by publishers who are still recycling those same ideas over and over in an industry that is terrified of doing anything different so they just get people who are very talented technically Gros [...]


  4. Sorry to say this did absolutely nothing for me in fact, the language and self indulgent style turned me off within the first dozen pages and I m usually a superhero nut Glad I borrowed this from the library instead of buying it.


  5. This story begins on the premise that Comic Book Superheros are real, and have influenced recent world history in not so very pleasant ways This idea is hardly new, and has had several recent writers explore the idea in other novels and graphic novels most notably Alan Moore s now infamous graphic novel The Watchmen.This novel offers a new twist on the idea however The Heroes in question are members of the Fantastic Order of Justice or F O O J and they have only recently defeated every supervill [...]


  6. I learned that it s possible to do a worse job than Mark Millar in deconstructing the heroic genre In fact, I disliked this book so much, I m tempted to ruin the ending by giving away the BIG surprise, but nah, I ll spoiler it.Spoiler After basically making mock of the entire genre and all associated with it, it then lets the bad guy win It lets him completely and utterly destroy the good guy down to disgracing his name and legacy forever Seriously, I wanted to find the author and punch him afte [...]


  7. Ok, maybe not actual conspiracy theorists, but if you ve ever been accused of being one, you ll enjoy this novel Never has a book kept me so totally in the dark about how it was going to end, yet still managed to have a proper, satisfying well, frustrating, but REAL conclusion.


  8. Fun characters and good post modern super hero action, offset by terrible, terrible psycho babble and an unsatisfyingly unreliable narrative Overall, still good, but could have been a lot better.


  9. Just couldn t seem to get into the writing style of this book I love superheroes so this would seem like a natural book for me but it just wouldn t click with me The writing seemed to forced and campy Not recommended


  10. I finished reading From the Notebooks of Dr Brain by Minister Faust on Shabbat evening, and it was good This is thoroughly odd book the premise is that this is a self help book which has been written by the therapist of a group of superheroes whose internal neuroses are tearing them up the supervillains have all been defeated in the so called G tterd mmerung battle, you see, and the organization analogous to the Avengers or Justice League is not quite purposeless at this time There is a plot to [...]


  11. From the Notebooks of Dr Brain packs a superhero sized punch Artfully combining a comic self help book geared towards hyper sapiens seems like a great idea that would be entertaining standing on its own, but what makes this book such a joy to read is author Minister Faust s fantastic prose Perhaps you will be taken a bit aback by the over the top language and unique character dialects, as I initially was, but I would urge the reader to stick with it, and you will be pleasantly rewarded with thin [...]


  12. I approached this book with a mixture of excitement and trepidation On one hand, the idea of superheroes undergoing therapy is interesting, and great for comedic potential, but in the wrong hands, it could be a terrible foray into stereotypes and too broad humour return Thankfully, the author managed to avoid all of that, creating a book that is simultaneously a critique and love letter to comic book heroes, while at the same time lampooning self help books as well, and providing some contempora [...]


  13. An interesting attempt at doing something different in the super hero novel genre, this book rapidly became a mess of deconstructed caricatures It did tackle the issues of race and a privileged narrator interpreting everything via her own references, but it didn t trouble to make any of it particularly believable Reading most of the characters dialogue was actively annoying as the author seemed heavily reliant on vocal tics to distinguish the characters one valley girl, one swedish accent, one f [...]


  14. The Notebooks of Dr Brain chronicles the therapy sessions of the superhero team, F O O J The Fantastic Order of Justice While the book is hilarious, it digs deep into topics that many writers have trouble finessing.Meet The Flying Squirrel, Omnipotent Man, Iron Lass, X Man, Brotherfly, and Power Grrrl, as they tackle racism, sexism, relationships, all while Dr Eva Brain helps them work through their issues with each other, superheroing, and the world around them.Minister Faust is an amazing word [...]


  15. A clear departure from Minister Faust s first novel, Dr Brain demonstrates an incredible range from the author The novel is at once a hilarious satire of superheroics and psychology, and a complex, multi layered analysis of the forces at work in our own world.The novel reads like a self help book for superheroes, which allows its fictional and eponymous author to deconstruct the superhero mythos in a way barely hinted at in Moore s Watchmen At the same time, Faust infuses these failed, flawed su [...]


  16. I loved Coyote Kings I pretty much hated this book At over halfway through, there was no discernable plot, and no character I cared about at all was if one of these characters survives, will I be OK with that If so, which one I think partially my dislike is because Faust wrote it from the perspective of the most annoying character Which is saying a lot Maybe she s only the most annoying because the reader s forced to be in her head, and forced to spend every moment with her maybe if another cha [...]


  17. I really enjoy reading superhero fiction, and I m not above some fast and fun, light hearted renditions alongside the dark and realist ones but From the Notebooks of Dr Brain is too flippant and dare I say it too derivative.It deliberately sets up to satirize pop psychology self help books, and it does that in a fairly humorous way But the psycho babble and obvious stand ins for classic superheroes DC s The Big Three, for example makes this of a fan thing something that is written to be delibe [...]


  18. Dr Brain s notebooks starts off a bit slow I was interested, learning all the characters, but then the learning keeps going and going.There s a plot twist involving a death, and from that point on the story really picks up The last 100 pages are really strong and hard to put the book down from that point on.Minister Faust hits all the comic book soap opera mile markers without becoming cliche or tiresome He does this while juggling such themes as racism, classism, bigotry, and xenophobia.He had [...]


  19. This is the book every kid from Cleveland wanted to write but didn t The central concept is interesting, but Minister Faust doesn t stop with simply that interesting idea He develops an interesting story that will keep readers reading while he gives them some interesting and off the wall ideas about psychology and the sociology of pop culture His one attempt at political commentary is either a call to freedom or merely a clever interpretation of current events, depending on what you think he s a [...]


  20. A superhero novel written in the style of a self help book for caped crusadersI know, but trust me, it works If you re even marginally familiar with superheroes, you won t have to stretch your imagination too far to recognize who the fictional heroes are based on especially the big three But the book is far than a parody, the characters are all flawed with various degrees of narcissism, racism, sexism, and just about every other ism you can come up with but it s not played for laughs and the en [...]


  21. Fausts sopho novel, to the Cayote Kings Here Minister Faust makes commentary on the socioeconomic, cultural, political and racial issues of todays society by using classic super hero archetypes Characters everyone would recognize from both DC and Marvel comics, but with considerably issues And while he pokes fun of and creates decidedly flawed versions of these characters, at the same time he pays homage to all comics and great hero s A good read, though the divisiveness and hatefullness of th [...]


  22. This is not bad It wasn t quite what I was expecting, and it wasn t quite as good as I hoped it would be, but it was still utterly worth reading I was a bit thrown off by the fact that it turned out to be of a parody than a satire the main characters are clearly each mocking specific comic book characters And that s a shame the unique characters are so much interesting and creative than the parodies But the ending went in an unexpected direction, and made it worth pushing through the whole sto [...]


  23. Picked this up on a whim in a clearance sale Turns out it s actually pretty darn good Framed partially as a self help book for superheroes, told by eminent super shrink Dr Brain, this features a great cast of characters, a surprisingly deep discussion of the politics of heroism, a huge amount of agonising and inspired puns, comic book homages right down to awesome and always appropriate alliteration and surprises that kept me guessing til the end Great fun


  24. It was OK, the ending felt really forced Of the books I ve read in this genre Confessions of a D List Supervillain, Soon I Will Be Invincible this was definitely the weakest.


  25. A brilliant satire on superheroes Faust s prose crackles with wit and a deep understanding of his subject matter But underneath the parody of caped crusaders and pop culture, a deep political commentary can be unearthed like the contents of the Hawk King s Blue Pyramid Highly recommended, and now I really want to seek out Faust s first novel, The Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelor Pad.


  26. After his stellar debut, Minister Faust was going to be hard pressed to top Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelor Pad but he delivers a complex, smoldering story that will make you mad, make you laugh and seriously re examine the heroes you have been cheering for all these years in comics and on the big screen Read it


  27. I found the book hard to get into at first,due to the narrators rather florid style,but it picks up after a while There s some nice comic book references too Crisis of infinite dearths , Cosmicus and the Gold Glider.And some surprisingly relevant political allegories towards the end If you enjoyed this,you might like Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman.


  28. Amusing premise, cute twists on superhero and villain stereotypes, and even amusing pokes at pop psychology Unfortunately this one seemed to fall apart in the last fifty pages The plot became increasingly confused, and confusing, ceased being amusing and candidly became a chore to finish up Which is a pity, since the first 200 or so pages had than their share of chuckles.


  29. Faust understands our current deconstruct the superhero mode of thinking about the genre perfectly This book, in fact, not only was well written, and quite insightful about some of our oldest supherhero archetypes, it was also a very interesting metaphor about how the 2008 election could have turned out Just a fantastic novel.


  30. Not what I was hoping for I don t think I ll finish this book, actually I only got through the first 30 pages or so If you want a tongue in cheek superhero novel, read Soon I Will Be Invincible.


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