Ira Nayman is the proprietor (author) of The Alternate Reality News Service. You've heard of alternative comedy; this is the same but applied to news reports. They are short, punchy and generally amusing and thought provoking. If anything this sequel is more subtle than the opening publication. I mentioned in the review of Alternate Reality Ain't What It Used To Be that fiction story readers might miss a conventional story with a beginning, middle and end with dialogue between characters. Then along comes Miracles, etc., and lo, there is such a story. Of course Nayman being alternate, has the story sandwiched in multi-layers in between the news reports. The story is called The Weight of Information and is a clever multi-dimensional story in its own right told with humour and originality. Within the story is at least one of several keys. By that I mean a reference - words, numbers and concepts - that recur in other parts of the book. I found a couple but it would be wrong to divulge them in a review. What I can say it that it adds to the stimulus this book brings.
One of my favourite pieces in this collection is The Hills Are Alive. Nanobots released into the environment have led to objects becoming conscious. A mountain range argues that if humans engage in strip mining then it will lose a significant part of its identity. The mountain has `an unyielding nature and won't move'. And why not have mountains with such feelings? They are not inanimate once infiltrated by nanobots creating a complex neural-brain-like structure within. We had smart clothes in the last book, tingling our senses, in this we have mountains.
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"What Were Once Miracles..." is a collection of funny 'articles' from the future - numerous futures, actually, depending on which reality it came from. I really enjoyed this book, Nayman has a sense of humour that is occasionally Douglas Adams-esque. Some of his political pieces are just the best - I think my favourite was the one about the political pundit who never got a single prediction right, and some of the 'obituaries' ("Lives Unlived") were a real riot too. A few minor niggles: There is in my opinion a bit of overuse on really weird names - a little goes a long way - and the title of the book is not clear as you're looking at it. I thought at first it was called "The Alternate Reality News Service." But apart from that, I had a lot of fun with this book. Folks who are into science and/or science-fiction will enjoy this book a lot.
And if you've ever wondered what the world would be like if Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh were President, Nayman has answered each of those questions. His knowledge of science is fairly broad along with his knowledge of politics. Americans may find some of the Canadian political pieces a bit puzzling if they're not familiar with the names and current events here in Canada. All throughout, though, there is a running thread about the appearance of over a hundred variations of a particular human being when there's a malfunction in the Dimensional Portal(tm) and what to do with all of them (it could get touchy as they've *all* imprinted, rather like baby geese, on the first creature they see, as their Best Friend Forever).
Overall, a fun read. Also, the kind of book you can pick up and put down again if you want to read it in small chunks.
This book is a collection of humorous and satirical essays purporting to be from the Alternative Reality News Service ('If you don't like this reality try another"). Most are amusing, some less so. The book is at its best when it parodies major targets, such as psychiatric classification systems, insider stories of corporations, etc. The names and credentials of the alleged reporters reminded me of the way Jon Stewart blithely identifies his colleagues as "leading scandal reporter" and the like.