Isn't it Time You Read a Fun, Nanny State-Mocking Book?

Bacon and Egg ManPremier Digital PublishingPeer into the future. Not our future (hopefully), but a future in which Michael Bloomberg's most feverish dreams about saving us from ourselves have come true. That's the premise of Bacon and Egg Man by Ken Wheaton, a novel that should be satirical, but really is just an extrapolation down the path set by smoking bans and soda restrictions. In Wheaton's mid-21st century, the northeastern United States seceded from the union under the leadership of a "King Mike" who was primarily motivated by the desire to be the biggest fish in a small pond. After years of creeping nanny-statism, the rest of the country was only too happy to tell King Mike and his Northeast Federation of States not to let the door hit them in the ass on their way out — and to insist they take California with them. This set King Mike and friends loose to mold a new nation using all of the tools available to elitist control freaks with no checks on their power.

Wheaton's hero, Wes Montgomery, is a journalist with a sideline as the leading black market dealer of banned foods on Long Island. The fun begins when he gets busted and coerced into participating in an undercover operation against his counterpart in Manhattan.

The premise of the book is similar to that of F. Paul Wilson's "Lipidleggin'," which was written when the whole idea of a diet-controlling, therapy-mandating, Big Mother-ish government seemed oh-so far-fetched. I asked Wheaton about that, and he'd never heard of the story. He's a Louisiana native though, and a few years of living under King Mike's smothering hand while working for Ad Age in New York City were likely all it took to have him pining for an America that had quarantined militant aerobicizers and haters of trans-fats.

Mean Martin ManningENC PressWhile we're on the subject of satirical novels about the nanny-state future, let's not forget Scott Stein's Mean Martin Manning. Consistently funny and, yes, mean, the novel follows misanthropic Martin Manning, who hasn't left his apartment in years simply because he wants to be left alone. He's not neurotic, or phobic, or troubled in any way. But he is ill-tempered — and perhaps just a little more than the aggressively caring minions of the nanny state counted on when they set out to "help" those who neither want nor need anything of the sort. What's that about waking sleeping giants? How about pissing off  a pit viper?

Mean Martin Manning was published in 2007 and deserves much more notice than it has received. Like Bacon and Egg Man, it captures all of the awful presumption of the nanny state, and then just sets it down its own logical road, to where the nanny staters are not only likely, but certain, to go if allowed free rein.

I'm a big believer in the value of both culture and fun. I recommend these books not just because they celebrate freedom, but because they're enjoyable to read and work in and of themselves as novels. We have to participate in the culture and contribute of ourselves if we're going to nudge it in a healthy direction, and both Bacon and Egg Man and Mean Martin Manning are worthy contributions in that direction.

High Desert BarbecueStubbed Toe PressSo, of course, is High Desert Barbecue, the rollicking, thug-thumping novel of outdoor adventure, penned by yours truly. Thrill as conspiracy, arson and ineptitude threaten the desert West, and only a misanthropic hermit, a subversive schoolteacher and an unemployed business writer stand in the way. I may not address nanny staters to any great extent, but my book deals at great length with tree-huggers and bureaucrats. There are plenty of larfs and violence. I should have added more sex.

High Desert Barbecue was a Freedom Book Club book of the month. Like the other two novels featured here, I like to think that it stands on its own merits.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tman||

    Did you guys know that Matt and Nick wrote book together too?

    True story.

  • ||

    Yeah, sure they did. I would have heard about that if it were true.

  • ||

    Maybe they had a low advertising budget, although you'd think they'd take advantage of free exposure here on Reason if that were the case.

  • Hugh Akston||

    There are plenty of larfs and violence. I should have added more sex.

    SugarFree is available to ghostwrite the followup.

  • ||

    It's not a horror story, bonehead.

  • ||

    There's a tree burning on the cover, you Gaia hating fascist.

  • ||

    Wait, if that's environmental horror, what would a book written by Warty be?

  • From the Tundra||

    High Dessert Colonic?

  • ||

    Shameless plug. And I thought Doherty was bad. ;-)

  • Brett L||

    Doherty wrote a book? Next thing you know Welch and Gillespie will write one.

  • RBS||

    Radicals for Capitalism is actually very good. I highly recommend it. It's worth it just for the footnotes...

  • ||

    I'll as The Future and It's Enemies by Virginia Postrel to that list. It does an excellent job of delving into the reactionary and technocratic mindsets.

  • Ted S.||

    I think Postrel knew how to use apostrophes properly.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the rest of the country was only too happy to tell King Mike and his Northeast Federation of States not to let the door hit them in the ass on their way out — and to insist they take California with them.

    How did they get California through the Panama Canal?

  • jdtuccille||

    Bacon grease.

  • John Galt||

    Bacon grease should be holy. I use it for everything from cooking and hair grooming to baiting traps and sex.

  • Dweebston||

    I may not address nanny staters to any great extent


    Why do you love Bloomberg, Too-chilly? Why do you hate freedom?

  • JeremyR||

    I think F. Paul Wilson covered this idea first, with the story Lipidleggin, from 1978

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipidleggin'

  • ||

    Just read it. It's a short story, over pretty quick. Great read.

  • ||

    Hm, it didn't recognize the end of your url. Let's try this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipidleggin'

  • ||

  • Dweebston||

    Ah, the giraffes. For every one of me there's a hundred of them.

    But I'm worth a thousand giraffes.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What? No love for The Bladerunner (a novel from 1974 that predicts Obamacare; not the film version of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?")?

  • General Butt Naked||

    This reminds me of that F. Paul Wilson story.

  • Dweebston||

    You mean this F. Paul Wilson story?

  • General Butt Naked||

    I don't recall at the moment.

  • SumpTump||

    That makes a LOT of sense when you think about it. Wow.

    www.GoPrivacy.tk

  • Hugh Akston||

    I've been wanting to read Mean Martin Manning for a while now, but it's out of print and there doesn't seem to be an ebook version. I feel bad that Stein's book hasn't gotten much love, but it's his own fault if he doesn't know how to market it. I mean, my friend's brother's cousin's roommate got a job working at goggle for $357 and hour. His last paycheck was $257643 all from working on his labtop. If he can make that much money without putting on pants, how hard can it be for Stein to promote his book?

  • Dweebston||

    I don't know about any of that, but then I'm usually paid money to put my pants back on.

  • wheelock||

    Hahaha. Best anon-bot impression award goes to..,

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I'll throw in my obligatory thanks for the Lee-Enfield and AR-7. You oughta advertise that on the dust jacket or back cover.

  • jdtuccille||

    Have I mentioned that I have about 500 rounds for the Enfield? I love shooting that rifle.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    At current prices, you could probably sell the ammo and buy a couple more rifles.

  • GelidusV||

    I liked High Desert Barbecue, and I would be interested in reading more adventures of Rollo, Scott and Lani

  • Invisible Finger||

    If the best a writer can do for a character name is "Wes Montgomery" I'm afraid the rest of the writing will be equally uninspired.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement