3 Novels by David Ohle
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Overview: David Ohle is an American writer, novelist, and a lecturer at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. After receiving his M.A. from KU, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin from 1975 to 1984. In 2002 he began teaching fiction writing and screenwriting as a part-time lecturer at the University of Kansas. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, the Transatlantic Review, Paris Review, and Harper’s, among other magazines.
While it remained out of print for over thirty years, his first novel Motorman (initially published in 1972) gathered a quiet cult following, was circulated through photocopies, and went on to become an influence to a generation of American writers such as Shelley Jackson and Ben Marcus.
His subsequent novels The Age of Sinatra (2004), The Pisstown Chaos (2008) and The Old Reactor (2013) take place in the same dystopian setting as Motorman. Ohle’s fiction is often described as weird, surreal and experimental. His own influences include Leonora Carrington, Philip K. Dick, Flann O’Brien, and Raymond Roussel.
Genre: Fiction> Science Fiction & Fantasy
The Age of Sinatra
After the most recent Forgetting, Ohle’s luckless protagonist Moldenke is in possession of only his name and the bare facts of his former life. He finds himself cruising on the Titanic through a bizarre alternate reality where elective deformation is a fashion trend, neuts and human settlers do their best to live together in relative harmony, and the only available sustenance is stomach-churning fare. Everyone agrees the Stinkers are troublesome and something must be done. President Ratt not only fails to control the Stinker problem, but he also has a penchant for decreeing absurd laws and issuing random vouchers of innocence. Violators with valid vouchers defer their punishments to guiltless bystanders–regulations that land Moldenke and his fellows in prison more than once.
Rumours are circulating that another Forgetting is imminent, and that the Forgettings are induced by Ratt’s radio broadcasts. The prison guard Montfaucon emerges as Ratt’s political rival, and Moldenke, ever the yes-man, finds himself inadvertently involved in a plot to assassinate the president. The rebels hope to return to the Age of Sinatra, "when happiness was not only considered achievable, but hailed as the ideal state of being."
The Old Reactor
Moldenke is sent to the "free" prison town at Altobello with an indeterminate sentence. He has a rare bowel condition. Altobello is full of "Jellyheads" and features an old nuclear reactor on the edge of town. No one seems to remember what the reactor really is, until it’s almost too late.
The Pisstown Chaos
The Pisstown Chaos is the story of a family’s dislocation in the midst of chaos, disease, and forced-relocation. Political power seems to be solely in the hands of one Reverend Herman Hooker, an “American Divine,” who revels in the sufferings of others as he spouts platitudes to the ever-on-the-move masses. As chaos rages on and parasitic infestations spread, the Reverend rules with an iron fist from his Templex headquarters, utterly without mercy. This is the final book in the cult trilogy.