You Can’t Kill the Multiverse (But You Can Mess With its Head): Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner interviews Ira Nayman on his second novel in 'The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy'
Sarah: So Ira, first of all, a million thanks for granting this interview. At the same time, we know that the name “Ira” is fictitious, that it is an alias under which you write. Now, most people who publish cannot wait to have their names associated with their publications, why do you choose to write under a pseudonym?
Ira: A boy has to maintain some mystery.
Sarah: Haha, fair enough. But do tell, please; who is the real face behind the Ira Nayman? Yeah, yeah, you’ve told us he/she is “a lawn chair named Francois le Granfalloon” but we also know that lawn chairs don’t write. So, who is Ira Nayman, aka lawn chair, aka Francois le Granfalloon?
Ira: Quite right. There is no known universe in which Ira Nayman is a lawn chair. However, there are several known universes in which Ira Nayman is a China tea set, and there is one in which he is a grandfather clock (despite the fact that, paradoxically, he has no children). However, revealing what object I may be would give you a clue to who I really am, and what fun would that be? (For me, I mean. I have no idea if this is fun for anybody else…)
Sarah: Mmmm, I did read in You Can’t Kill the Multiverse blurb that reading a book by you is like ‘going head-to-head with a selection of thirty-three and third disconnected Wikipedia entries, etcetera, etcetera. What I was warned was that interviewing you would be similar, haha! Anyway, Ira, we know of other famous writers who have published under the fictitious names (J.K. Rowling and the book, The Cuckoo’s Calling; and Lemony Snicket the writer of children’s book, come to mind). So is Ira Nayman one among these ranks and files?
Ira: I have been accused of being rank, but only by people who don’t know me. As for the file, honestly, I don’t know how it got into that cake. You aren’t going to tell the warden…are you?
Sarah: Spoken like a true lawn chair who is trying to be human!. Still, is there a plan to reveal the real face behind You Can’t Kill the Multiverse in the near future? Once, (or if) that happens will you continue with the Ira Nayman pseudonym or will you stay permanently with your real name?
Ira: Yes. If one of my books becomes a bestseller, I plan to reveal that I am, in fact, the Thin White Duke. (I was considering being Ziggy Stardust, but I couldn’t handle the drugs.)
Sarah: Haha, you couldn’t but the lawn chair might. Anyway, why the name Ira Nayman. What inspired your choice of that as your pseudonym?
Ira: Let us say, for the sake of argument, that a child is born to parents who want to name him after his uncle, whose Hebrew name was Yitzchak. The traditional English versions of the name include Isaac (boring!), Ian (double boring with sprinkles!) and Israel (too political!). What’s a parent to do? So, they name the child Ira, after the lyricist Ira Gershwin and the novelist Ira Levin. Now, I can neither confirm nor deny that that is the true genesis of my first name. However, if it isn’t, you can see why being named after two famous artists would appeal to me.
As for my surname, even if it was my real name, Nayman would have been made up. Suppose that, when the hypothetical child’s father came to Canada as an orphan from France after the second world war, his family name was Najman. However, as he grew in Canada, he realized that that wasn’t easy for Canadians to pronounce, so the name on all of his children’s official documents was Nayman. Because, ultimately, aren’t all names made up?
Sarah: Well said!. Well, Ira, aka Lawn Chair, aka Francois le Granfalloon – we have come to the end of our interview. Thank you very much for granting us your (might one say) very unusual audience?
Ira: No, thanks a million, Sarah!
In You Can’t Kill the Multiverse (But You Can Mess With its Head), Ira Nayman’s second novel published by Elsewhen Press, a madman develops a machine which he hopes will destroy the multiverse. When he sets it off, nothing seems to happen. Not content with this state of affairs, Doctor Alhambra, the chief scientist for the Transdimensional Authority (which monitors and police traffic between universes) creates an alarm system that will alert him if any of the universes in the known multiverse should start to show signs of collapse.
In Good Intentions: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: First Pie in the Face, the sixth novel in the Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse series, the alarm goes off. The universe that is in imminent danger of collapse contains billions of sentient beings; the Transdimensional Authority develops an ambitious plan to help as many of them immigrate to stable universes as possible before their universe dies. Good Intentions follows the first alien immigrant’s journey to Earth-Prime.
Bad Actors: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: Second Pi in the Face, takes place two years later. 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 a selection of thirty-three and third disconnected Wikipedia entries filtered through seven layers of artesian coffee filters woven from at least three more fibres 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.
They Came, They Saw, They Ate Pie
by INDIGO HAPHAZASTANCE Alternate Reality News Service Transdimensional Traffic Writer
The Dolomite construction crew was a rough and ready bunch of men. Ricky Agnosticci (“It’s pronounced Egg-naws-teach-ee – what, were you raised in a barn_”) has a tattoo on his back of the Notre Dames de Paris Cathedral, after the fire that left it a hulking shell (not unlike Gerard Depardieu)! Ronald “The Buried Hatchet” McFlorentine enjoys chewing glass in his spare time (he hopes to turn pro in time for the next Olympic Games). Trini LePew collects paintings of dung beetles by the Old Masters and enjoys brewing home-made wine…which nobody who knows him will drink. Scott “Harsh Hashtag” Laren can chop down thousand year-old sequoias with a single cutting remark.
You don’t have to be a Sesame Seed Street aficionado to recognize that one of these things is not like the other things, that one of these things doesn’t belong. Being able to sing along with the words in your heard is kind of cool, though.
“It’s me,” grinned McFlorentine, chewing on I did not want to know what (which turned out to be sea salt ground glass in dark chocolate – you want to get ahead in the journalism racket, you can’t afford to be squeamish). “I’ve always been a little…different.”
Which may be true, but is irrelevant to the current article. The person who actually doesn’t belong to this group is LePew. Boy, doesn’t he belong!
Two years ago, scientists at the Transdimensional Authority learned that Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega was collapsing thanks to the machinations of a mad scientist that are too complicated to go into here. One year, three hundred sixty-four days, seventeen hours and twenty-seven minutes ago, the TA (which sounds vaguely naughty, but isn’t, the occasional miscommunication at the organization’s ChristmaKwaanzUkah parties notwithstanding) announced a plan to help refugees from the dying universe relocate to Earth Prime. Since then, hundreds of thousands of the aliens have become respected plumbers, gastroenterologists and Mexican luchadors.
And yes, construction workers.
“At first, I was unimpressed,” admitted Laren. “I mean, Jesus begesus, he was blue! Everybody knows blue people are stupid and lazy – it’s been that way since before my great grandfather drowned driving the stagecoach from York to St. John’s! How am I supposed to trust somebody like that in the trenches of the fourteenth floor_ Not…that anybody knew there even were blue aliens before two years ago – I mean, I’m not stupid! I know Avatar was not a documentary! What I mean is…I mean, like all of his kind, Trini was only four feet tall. How can you properly rivet when you’re only four feet tall? So, yeah, I may have played some…pranks on him.”
Pranks? Like gluing the door to his locker shut? Laren looked me not in the eye and answered, “Pranks like greasing the sixth floor girder he was scheduled to work on.”
Fortunately, a flat bed truck appeared on the street under him just as LePew was about to hit it, breaking his fall.
The aliens are often lucky that way.
What changed Laren’s mind about LePew? “What makes you think I changed my mind about the filthy little blue toe?” he angrily demanded.1 “I mean, like, what’s with the exquisite three piece suit he always wears? I’ve seen him wade up to his waist in mud when we were clearing the land for the foundation, but it never has so much as a spot on it. That’s just creepy!”
Agnosticci punched Laren in the shoulder. “Don’t be like that! Don’t you always say that he’s great to send into dangerous situations because he’s a Holy Fool who’ll always come out smelling like a filthy little blue rose?”
Laren mumbled something I couldn’t quite catch, but I was fast approaching the word limit of my article, so I decided it was agreement so I could move on.
“By and large, the aliens have integrated into human society well,” commented TA Secretary-Specific Nicodemius Fitzhuge. “Coal miner, sanitation engineer, troll farm social network poster – there is no job so dirty or demeaning that they won’t cheerfully take it! True, you will get the occasional Sonderland Aeronautics…it was more than an incident, but less than a debacle. Still, if they hadn’t wanted the factory to explode, they really should have taken better care of the artichokes!”
So, can we expect to see an alien from Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega working at the Transdimensional Authority any time soon?
The dial tone on the other end of the line was as eloquent an answer as I could reasonably expect.
* “[INSERT NEGATIVE TRAIT OR STRING OF NEGATIVE TRAITS HERE] blue toe!” is a common epithet used by Earth Prime natives who do not like the alien species from Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega. Traits that have been attributed to the aliens include: nasty, ugly, smelly, scatological, selfish, greedy, egotistical, orotund and vaguely unsettling. The term spread so widely so quickly that wordologists have not come to a consensus on why toes were chosen as the body part focused on in the epithet. Some believe that it is a diminution of “[INSERT NEGATIVE TRAIT OR STRING OF NEGATIVE TRAITS HERE] blue person, head to toe!” This makes sense, since the negative trait or traits are really the focus of the epithet, not the body part. A different some believe it has to do with sucking. That may be more reflective of the attitudes of the some than the epitheteers. As often happens, the whole explanation is less than some of its parts.
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 updating a website 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…