A “psychedelic read, with your signature combination of comedy and gravitas”

By John C. A. Manley

My new editor, Pete Toccalino, finished his first (of many) read-through of my forthcoming novella, All the Humans Are Sleeping. Here’s his verdict:

“I must say it was a very enjoyable, thought-provoking and at times psychedelic read, with your signature combination of comedy and gravitas.”

“Psychedelic” made me laugh, as I remember a reader from Germany, Christian Pillon, describing Much Ado About Corona as a mild mushroom trip:

“So far it’s one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read. Seriously. …your story is so well crafted it’s hard to put down. I often find myself re-reading entire paragraphs just for the enjoyment of it… your novel has had an amazing effect on my mood and general brain function. To be honest it’s similar to micro-dosing mushrooms.”

Anyway… back to All the Humans Are Sleeping. I assure you, Pete is not trying to be nice as he’s being paid to edit the book on a royalty basis. That means if the story is no good, and doesn’t sell, his two adorable kids will be eating cricket sausages for breakfast and his lovely wife will be auctioning her wedding ring on eBay. Hence, I think he’s being honest about how much he enjoyed All the Humans Are Sleeping (far more honest than I am about how financially dependent his family is on this one editing gig).

Now Pete wasn’t all praise. He did give me a list of rewrites for All the Humans Are Sleeping. It’s a short list, which is a good thing as I can spend up to two hours reworking one point.

For example, Pete felt I rushed one particular character through the most important decision she probably shouldn’t have made in her entire life. I disagreed at first. But then five minutes later admitted he was right. So I had to expand that scene by another 500 words. Which I didn’t mind doing at all. It involved writing. I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I like it.

In fact, I wish I could expand the story another 5,000 words. Right now All the Humans Are Sleeping totals about 55,000 words. For it to qualify as a novel and not a novella, it needs to break 60,000 words (for comparison sake, Much Ado About Corona is 150,000 words). Of course, the long-term mission is to release two more 50,000-word sequels (All the Humans are Dying and All the Humans are Waking) and then one glorious day combine them into a 150,00-word psychedelic omnibus.

Until then, you can read the 150,000-word example of my “signature combination of comedy and gravitas” in Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story — available here.


John C. A. Manley is the author of Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story, the forthcoming All The Humans Are Sleeping and other works of speculative fiction. You get free chapters from his novels by subscribing to his Blazing Pine Cone email newsletter at https://blazingpinecone.com/subscribe/

Image credit: Psypost

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