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ZERO
Al Schnupp, author
How does an egotistical buffoon with no talent become the darling political celebrity of his country? A bawdy satire of tabloid politics, exposing how a simpleton is elected leader of a fictitious country. Maxie convinces her husband, Zero, to commit a bizarre crime that showers him with riches, making it possible for him to campaign for leader of their country. With Horace as Campaign Manager, the trio embarks on a whirlwind of fundraising, cover-ups, debates, makeovers and scams. Meanwhile, Inspector Oodles and his assistant, Minnie, assume a variety of disguises to uncover the true identity of Zero and his cohorts. Who will garner the most votes: the Zealots, Hysterics or Fanatics? An outrageous fable, fueled with invented words, that lampoons American-Style politics.
Reviews
Veteran playwright and novelist Schnupp delivers a satirical novel that lampoons contemporary American politics, emphasizing its inherent absurdities. The story began as a play—Zero to Infinity—and according to Scnhupp, borrows “playfulness, absurdity, language and truth” from Eugène Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano and Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi. When the novel’s titular character, Zero, decides to run for “Icon of Groad,” the premier political position in the fictitious country of Groad, what follows is a series of satirizations of an actual political campaign. From the egotistical buffoonery of Zero himself as he promises to “abolish headaches [and] outlaw tornadoes,” to the machinations of his wife and campaign manager, who sets out to convince donors and voters that Zero is the most “Iconoclastic” candidate, the novel zig zags its way through the hypocrisies of American political life.

The name of the titular character, Zero, encapsulates the irony at this story’s heart, and for all the pained truth of Schnupp’s playful truthtelling it’s still a laugh out loud moment when Zero promises an era of “Zero truth, Zero justice, Zero compassion and equality.” The novel is scattered with Schnupp’s inventive neologisms: whether it’s calling dying "de-fizzing," or references to something called "loopy juice," Schnupp makes the familiar absurdly unfamiliar. Rhetorical hyperbole around tariffs on foreign automobiles and hunting down traitors to make them swear allegiance to Zero hits close to home with an oblique critique of the state of contemporary American politics.

Some readers may find it hard to focus on the storytelling amid so many new words, strange phrases, and allusive insights. The narrative seems like one long series of satirizations, which after a point can become repetitive. However, Schnupp succeeds in maintaining a light, humorous touch throughout, and continually offers fresh invention and ideas. Lovers of political satire and humor will enjoy this story, which is as funny as it is innovative.

Takeaway: A boldly inventive blend of literary play and political satire and humor.

Great for fans of: Matthew Sharpe, Victor Pelevin.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B

Book Viral

The BookViral Review:

Al Schnuppʼs brand of political satire is delivered with sensational results. A cutting allegorical story with laughs, itʼs farcical, frightening, a timely reflection on the current state of global politics and perhaps a reminder that things could always be worse!

The social importance of satire should never be underestimated. Itʼs popularity tends to wax and wane but one thing that remains constant is that power and politics canʼt stand to be ridiculed. And Schnupp has crafted a vitreous cocktail of naked ambition and blustery bravado with a distinctly bitter aftertaste.

A nihilistic rendering of what power and politics is heʼs crafted a host of superb bumbling and weak-minded characters who lack any real conviction other than a desire for power and position. Whilst his choice to ground such madness in an off-world setting proves wholly sublime!

From outrageous fundraising events to image makeovers at the Shimmer Clinic for Politicians, to the Dazzle Box. The plotting and backstabbing grow ever more elaborate whilst the relentless self-interest of central characters, Zero, Maxie, Horace and Inspector Oodles knows no bounds.

Theyʼre funny because they are shocking in ways you donʼt want to believe

another human being can be. And Zero as the wannabe Icon of Groad isnʼt just bird-brained and venal but crassly awful!

Schnupp wants his readers to be uncomfortable but doesnʼt ask us to laugh at their cruelty; instead, he makes us laugh at the absurd pettiness and ultimate in narrow-mindedness that often drives political ambition and the pursuit of power.

With satire this good itʼs easy to wax lyrical but Schnupp has once again given us something extraordinary and a joy to read. A must-read for fans of the genre Zero is unreservedly recommended.

Hellnotes Review

 “…the characters are ludicrously colorful with sort of a Dr. Seuss meets Monthy Python vibe…:   Elaine Pascale     

Literary Titan

Al Schnupp’s writing is witty, sharp, and distinct. The satire and humor organically embedded in this story makes it a stand out book of 2021 for me. You cannot go a page without finding the text to be entertaining or amusing.

We follow the story of Zero, a man who is not so wise but interesting to follow regardless. Zero has a wife, Maxine. His wife is sly, sometimes two-faced, and to some extent unethical. Maxine has a huge influence on Zero. She can convince her husband to partake in something that he was initially not confident about. Maxine may seem horrible to some, but there are parts of her character that I thought to be brave. She is unstoppable and a go-getter once she sets her mind to something. Horace is another major character that I found to be intriguing. Horace is a close associate of Zero and his wife, and they involve him in their ambitions. Zero is convinced by his wife to go for a political seat. Politics is not easy even for the wealthiest, most powerful, and experienced. Zero wants to vie for Icon of Groad, a top seat in his country. With the help of his wife, Zero strategizes and gets Horace, his campaign manager to help in his campaign spree. I enjoyed following this trio because of their diverse characters and how each complemented the other. Running a successful campaign is not a one-man show and Zero needed a support system to see his plan succeed.

The development of the plot and building of characters makes you appreciate how great of a writer Al Schnupp is. The author understands his readers and uses familiar examples when narrating the various occurrences and events. The style of narration is engaging and appealing to readers that enjoy satire. When reading this book, you realize how society is flawed to a certain degree as the author highlights issues that we face in contemporary society. The political theme in the book was significant and relevant especially for readers that are invested in policymaking and both local and international politics. Al Schnupp’s satire is top tier. I enjoyed how the author talks of the status quo. He is witty and uses distinct words and phrases when addressing societal issues through his characters and the storyline. I could not help but think of the many Zero’s we have in real life, as this character had a shady background, and yet he had ambitions to lead. Inspector Oodles was a favorite character. I liked the traits he was given and the process he took while investigating Zero’s father’s death. The detective work was another intriguing aspect of this story that I enjoyed following.

Zero is one of the funnest books I’ve read this year. I enjoyed the satirical storytelling, sharp by subtle wit, and the humorous detective work. If you’re looking for a light and fun story, look no further than Al Schnupp’s engaging political comedy.

Midwest Book Review

“At once both uproarious and terrifying in how closely its madness parallels reality, Zero is highly recommended.” 

Readers' Favorite

“….an inventive and unique novel filled with laugh-out-loud comedic moments from the outset…..I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves dry humor and political satire.”  Lesley Jones

Readers' Favorite

“… Schnupp’s brilliant political farce….mind-boggling comedic use of language, which starts in the first sentence and doesn’t end until the final period.”  Jon Michael Miller

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