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Annotation Alcatraz Chapter Seven


Unwittingly made a friend’s pants fall down.

Humor is hard to write. Not only is it subjective, but in a book you don’t have the benefit of a laughing crowd to help you get into the mood.

Because of these things, I know that everyone who reads this book is going to find some of the jokes lame. The best I can do is try to cover the range of different kinds of humor. That’s why there are non sequiturs–where I mention random absurdities–mixed with jokes about a boy’s pants falling down and random discussions of books by Thomas Aquinas breeding with copies of Little Women. Hopefully, the amalgamation has something that entertains you.

By the way, that crack about Alcatraz making his friend’s pants fall down wasn’t in the original draft. Instead, it was a crack about Alcatraz making a girl’s shirt fall off. That’s what I’d do if I were a teenage boy with the power to break things. However, when we decided to go middle grade for this book instead of YA, making a boy’s pants fall down seemed to hit the humor level for the age group better than jokes about shirts falling off. Unfortunately.

People who weren’t impressed by how advanced my culture was.

Man, this book is preachy, isn’t it? Ah well. Good thing it’s written from the viewpoint of a guy up on his soapbox dispensing wisdom. Otherwise it might get pretentious.

Isn’t it funny how I can get away with so much in a book like this? If I tried to be this overt with theme and message in one of my epic fantasies, it would completely ruin the book. I always talk about how books shouldn’t have intentional messages–only the messages that the characters want to talk about. However, you can’t help having things come through anyway. And as soon as I started writing in first person with a humorous tone, all kinds of things popped out.

In this chapter, we get Alcatraz having to face the fact that America doesn’t have all the best stuff. This is kind of hard to swallow, sometimes. Everyone wants to believe that their country is the best, and I’m afraid that Americans sometimes tend to go overboard with this.

Favorite Joke

The Summa Theologica comment. I first remember encountering this book (which is on Catholic doctrine) when I was a freshman. Some of us went out to a local used bookseller, and one of my friends said he was searching for a copy of it. I thought he was so smart. He wanted a book that had a Latin title. Ooooh.

I bought a hardcover copy of The Hobbit. Still have it.


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