An Interview with Ira Nayman
My friend Ira Nayman has graciously accepted my invitation to be interviewed for my blog. Welcome, Ira.
What genre do you write or do you write more than one?
I am primarily a humour writer, with a focus on political and social satire. My novels combine this with science fiction. However, I do not feel constrained by genre boundaries, and will throw any genre into the mix as long as it moves the story and can be a source of humour.
An example might help make this clear. One chapter in my second novel, You Can’t Kill the Multiverse (But You Can Mess With its Head), starts with a wizard casting a spell which he hopes will make the skies rain blood and summon demons that will help him take over the world. Nothing happens. Well, almost nothing; discouraged, he goes to bed, unaware of the sounds of frogs coming from the street outside his neighbourhood. Unbeknownst to the wizard, his spell has turned all the cars within a five mile radius into giant frogs. The next couple of sections of the chapter follow two police detectives who are investigating why all of the cars in a six mile radius have turned into giant frogs. They find the wizard. When they start questioning him, they find that he has come from another universe and didn’t realize that the laws of magic in this universe are different from the ones he is familiar with in his home universe. Oops. At this point, the detectives have to call in the Transdimensional Authority, which has jurisdiction over crimes committed across universes.
So. The story starts off as fantasy, moves to police procedural and ends as science fiction. And this is just the first 20 pages of the chapter! As I said, I never let genre boundaries get in the way of telling the story I want to tell.
Why did you choose this genre?
I decided I wanted to write humour when I was eight years old. Over the years, I have tried to figure out why I made that decision; not many children want to be Art Buchwald when they grow up. My best guess is: like many comedians, I had an emotionally turbulent childhood, and I found that laughing made me feel better, so I tried to do things that made me laugh more. Years later, I would transfer that feeling to others: I now write humour in the hope that it will help others get through the rough spots in their lives more easily.
What is your latest book?
My latest book is called Bad Actors: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: Second Pi in the Face.
Is it part of a series?
It is, indeed. It is the seventh book in my Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse series of humorous science fiction novels. The Transdimensional Authority monitors and polices travel between dimensions: if you are somewhere you don’t belong doing something naughty, they’re the ones who find you, stop you and take you back to where you belong. Book five is mostly a Time Agency novel (it does for time travel what the Transdimensional Authority does for the multiverse).
When will it release?
The ebook was released in August. The paperback version will be released in October.
What do you hope readers learn from/like about your work?
My main hope is that readers will laugh at my writing. Spit takes are always welcome. If they snort milk out of their noses, so much the better. Every path through life is hard and, as I said earlier, if I can help lighten people’s load even a little bit by released those old laughter-induced endorphins in their brains (endorphins are natural painkillers), I would be very happy.
That having been said, satire is sprinkled throughout the novels. Satire is, to be a bit reductive, the humour of ideas; if some of those ideas stick with readers after they have finished one of my books, that would be a nice bonus. The most consistent example of this would be the Multiverse Refugees Trilogy (starting with Good Intentions, published last year, and ending with The Ugly Truth, which has been submitted to Elsewhen Press and should be published in 2022); it looks at the experience of refugees from a variety of angles, good, bad and...you get the picture. It would be great if people came away from these books with a better appreciation of the refugee experience and more empathy for refugees.
Bad Actors: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: Second Pi in the Face, takes place two yearsafter the First Pi in the Face. Tens of thousands of aliens have immigrated to Earth Prime, with mixed results. Some have been welcomed and aided by their human hosts. Others have been vilified, exploited and attacked. Just another day in the multiverse...
Reading a book by Ira “is like going head-to-head with an selection of thirty three and a third disconnected Wikipedia entries filtered through seven layers of artesian coffee filters woven from at least three more fibers than permitted by the historic laws of any major religion in a blender made of a strange kind of cotton candy spun from titanium anodized in fairground
colours with blades made of live sharks while simultaneously tap-dancing to a Steve Reich composition based on the absolute value of the square root of pi. In other words, simply and elegantly the most entertaining way ever invented to invert your brain over a platter prepared with roasted apples and a variety of field mushrooms for your own delighted consumption.” –
Jen Frankel, editor, Trump: Utopia or Dystopia, author, Undead Redhead
Ira Nayman is a figment of the imagination of a lawn chair named Francois le Granfalloon. Francois has imagined a rich life for his character Ira featuring the publication of seven novels by Elsewhen Press, the most recent being called Bad Actors. Francois’ creation has been
web site of political and social satire, Les Pages aux Folles, for 19 years. In addition to this, imaginary Ira has a PhD in communications from McGill University and was a regular contributor to Creative Screenwriting magazine. Ira was also the editor of Amazing Stories magazine for two and a half years, but Francois is thinking that that may strain credibility, so he may remove it from his imaginings. All of his friends on the patio have urged Francois to write this down before he forgets it, but, being a lawn chair, he doesn’t have the hands to do it...
“Hey, man. How ya doin’?”
“Ohma ammadef, caff caff, coupla frizzlin har hars. Annu?”
“Can’t complain, brother. Can’t complain. I –”
“Ha so ha ha innit naw hooha?”
“Wainwright, Keef. It’s Wainwright.”
“Wayhaha? Youwro uhh uhh uhh cuzu nevahdi?”
“No, that was Johnny. ‘Because You Never Did’ was the first single from his solo
“Ha ha ha. Right tonka tha un!”
“You got that right. I’m Wainwright Walsh, The lead singer of the Occidental
Tourists. You remember the Occidental Tourists, right? We opened for you in ’84.”
“Lotta bandsofor – caff caff – inna ehfour.”
“Remember the night we got drunk and trashed a hotel room in Toronto?”
“Lotta bandsrash – caff caff tellroms in Tranna.”
“Okay, that doesn’t –”
“London, Keef. We’re in London.”
“Naaah! Nevaherd offa – ha ha – place!”
“Wha – you’ve lived in London for most of your life!”
“Issadafact? Furreal? Cuz – ha ha – caff caff caff!”
“Umm…yeah. Listen, I’m trying to put together a project –”
“Hava negila tada wid seelyin?”
“No. No, it has nothing to do with sea lions. It’s about –”
“Waddya gottagain seelyin Degotta rights ta – caff – rights ta caff caff – right?”
“I’m sure sea lions are marvellous creatures. It’s just that there are these aliens who
“Seelyiner ferkin’ magbificent neasts!”
“Yeah, you know what, Keef. I think I’m gonna –”
“I’m Wainwright Walsh! Rainwright foorkin’ Walsh!”
“Yeah? Hunh hunh hunh. Pulludda one – iplays jingerbells! Ha ha ha.”
“Yeah. I’m gonna call some other time, okay?”
“Yeah, you, too, Keef. You, too.”