Warriors. Pols, Muslims, Saints: Satiric Novelist Baar Uses New Short Story Scalpel to Seek Reality and Salvation in Spin-Soaked World

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Satirist James Baar’s new mosaic of 28 interconnected short fiction in which a broad array of high and low players seek or ignore history and salvation. Midwest Book Review calls the book “a fine collection of work that will prove highly entertaining with much to ponder….Blending themes well with many intriguing characters.” Spin and fakery in art and life: a main leitmotif.

"Beyond the purple veil,
Behind the carmined screen,
Immersed in yellow fog,
God's Plan in clearly seen...'

Searching for reality and salvation in a spinspeak saturated world pervades a new collection of short fiction, “The Real Thing and Other Tales” (http://tiny.cc/acom) by satiric novelist and lexicographer James Baar.

    The book’s 28 short stories are grouped in what Baar calls “an interrelated Byzantine mosaic” composed of “tales of fog and spin, icy water and cold turkey, signs and portents, and epiphanies.” Hard realism is spiced with unusual sightings such as the doomed Zeppelin Hindenburg, tattered Venetian and Muslim battle flags from Lepanto and various warning angels. Ironic turns appear throughout beginning with a preface’s opening line: “Beyond the purple veil, behind the carmined screen, immersed in yellow fog, God’s Plan is clearly seen.”

The cast of players includes old and new warriors, politically correct academics, princes, pols, saints, nukey-boat commanders, nerds and quants, spies. Scenes and memory shift across the last two millennia from Chartres to Venice to Jerusalem.; from the ruins of the Twin Towers to the ruins of Berlin; from St. Petersburg and London to Rome and Los Angeles; from the mid-Atlantic floor to Manhattan and the old woods of Upstate New York.

Spin and fakery in art and life is a main leitmotif: In "The Real Thing," a potent Catholic Renaissance painting, possibly fake, is pitted against a greedy Baby Boomer deconstructionist historian in a struggle for his threadbare soul. In "Email," a newly dead scientific genius is found guilty of mediocrity by famous virtual jurors. In "Believe Me!," a slippery mountebank pol who reinvents himself daily achieves faux 9/11 victimhood. In "Last Chance," a desperate unemployed investment banker cleans out Internet swindlers’ Islamic terrorist bank accounts.

A companion leitmotif is the exercise and non-exercise of free will: In the tale "In the Gulf," an admiral argues the morality of just war with his confessor and fails to read inconvenient orders. In "Have a Look!," a magic schloss in Germany provides tourists with lessons in alternative worlds stemming from various hinge points of history.

A third leitmotif is the possibility of divine intervention: In "Miracle at the Bridge," a jaundiced presidential speechwriter finds inspiration in the ancient miracles of faith soaked Venice. In "Exodus Revisited," a star lawyer specializing in defense of corporate flimflam confronts a burning bush. In "Cleansing the Sepulchre," an American weapons consultant, locked in overnight in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, meets a famous Father of the Church.

And there are memorable reminders of 21st Century decay and stirrings of revival: In "Mistakes Were Made," a star lacrosse player is expelled by his university when a female student recalls belatedly that after drinking a half bottle of vodka she probably was raped; a black surgeon who dies after falling down stairs is declared a martyr of racism by his estranged n’er-do-well son. In "Amazing Events," angry citizens solve a plague of graffiti by severing perpetrators’ hands; a crazed terrorist killer invading a famous restaurant has his head blown off by a calm gentleman diner.

Baar is author (http://tiny.cc/jbbooks) of two satirical business novels, "Ultimate Severance," a spin–soaked excursion through Enroned world featuring designer murder, and "The Great Free Enterprise Gambit," an instructive story about a highly hostile mega–business takeover and related humbug and public affairs; also "Spinspeak II: The Dictionary of Language Pollution," and four co-authored books on Cold War politics and technology including "Polaris!"and "Combat "Missileman." His latest foray in non-fiction, "But Wait! There’s More! (maybe)," co-authored with Donald E. Creamer, dissects chaos in the $500 billion global ad business and looks toward a new business model. He is editor of the weblog (http://tiny.cc/spinltr) The Spinspeak Letter.

Baar has been Chief Operating Officer of four major public relations agencies: Hill & Knowlton Advanced Technology, Gray-Strayton, Creamer Dickson Basford and Lewis & Gilman. He was Corporate Communications Officer of Computervision Corp., Managing Director of GE’s European Communications Operation and manager of various GE PR operations in the United States. Earlier, Baar was a UPI reporter/editor in Washington and Senior Editor of Missiles & Rockets Magazine. He is a graduate of Union College where he majored in philosophy.

Book Data

"The Real Thing and Other Tales"
By James Baar
Omegacom, Inc.
Soft cover 377 pages $15.99 Kindle ebook $8.99
ISBN 978-1-450-5374-2
Available online and at major bookstores
For review copies: books(at)omegacom.com

Other Books by James Baar (http://tiny.cc/jbbooks)


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