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From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain by Minister…
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From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain

by Minister Faust

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
My essential ethos with book recommending has been to let bad book fall into the obscurity they so richly deserve--any kind of attention a terrible book gets fans that spark of interest in it... and there are so many good books out there deserving of attention and praise.
So, I hardly (I think never) rate a book 1 star. I just leave it off the radar-you won't know I even read it.

But in the case of this book I have to make an exception.

Having read the delightful "Soon I will be Invincible" by Austin Grossman, I was disturbed by how poorly written this book was.

The tone was hackneyed and uneven; little episodic bursts meant, I guess, to emulate the "In the Meantime" of comic book narrative.
Like Grossman's novel there are allusions to existing superhero characters (Brotherfly = Spiderman, The Flying Squirrel = Batman)and teams, cute creator names-as-locations (Los Diktos), but what derails this book is a sense of agenda--I don't know if Faust means this as an homage to comic book culture or a bitch-slap wake-up call; there's an almost Scientologist-like glee in messing with the processes of psychoanalysis; a weak, ham-fisted attempt at addressing the racist mis-steps of Comic Books of yore. Ultimately ideas are retread again and again into flatness, ludicrousness.

The spur of my writing this was it's mind-boggling runner-up status for this Year Philip K. Dick Award. This book shouldn't have been on a short list, let alone a long one. I feel that Faust's editor should've sat him down and helped him trim the manuscript, tighten the narrative, and brush off that chip on his should before finalizing the book. ( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |
Six of the world's biggest superheroes in employer-mandated group therapy to resolve the in-fighting that is tearing the Fantastic Order Of apart. Narrated by their celebrity therapist in the form what is nominally a self-help book for superheroes; unfortunately, she is too busy writing a gossipy, self-aggrandizing tell-all to realize that she is anything but an objective observer. Some of the superheroes map to iconic DC and Marvel characters (but contextualized against the real world, instead of the fantastical worlds of DC and Marvel); others are superheroized historical figures. (Malcom X! Whose superpower is his words!) Riddled with pop-culture and history references, Notebooks of Dr. Brain is scythingly sharp meta on popular culture and post-Civil Rights era racism.
  sanguinity | Jan 1, 2011 |
This is just a clever, clever book. The conceit is that this is a self-help book for superheroes, by a psychologist for superheroes. The author is clearly self-aggrandizing and selling her product, but Faust gets his story through with awesome aplomb. He also gets an amazing amount of commentary in by what the psychologist chooses to ignore or focus on in her patients, such as the utter bloody racism of one of the characters, and minimizing the rape of one of the male characters. The entire time you read the book you have to remember that it's being written after the events of the book, and what we know to be true reading through the lines and what the "author" (not Faust, but Dr. Brain) presents to be true are not one and the same.

It's... there are a lot of layers to this book, and I'm somewhat at a loss for how to describe it. It's really just very good and I'm quite sad that I've already read the only two books I can find records of Minister Faust having published, honestly. ( )
  g33kgrrl | Jul 2, 2010 |
Like the best comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Brain can be read as a kick-ass actioneer or, if you prefer, as a sly satire of our world. Faust is not exactly subtle with the metaphors; racism, paranoia, and xenophobia are all staples of the superhero subculture, and Dr. Brain follows this path fairly closely. What Faust brings to the party is intricately funny word-play, ingenious plot developments, and true love for his subject matter. And fun. Man, is this fun.

Read the rest of the review here. ( )
  ShelfMonkey | Jan 10, 2010 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegal.)

I've mentioned this before, but for those who missed it and still don't know, the 1980s and '90s saw within science-fiction the development of what's now known as the "Dark Age;" informed equally by punk and postmodernism, it was a time of brooding introspection in the genre, when such traditional stereotypes as superheroes were psychologically examined to determine both the reason for their existence in the first place and in which ways these stereotypes could be cracked in our contemporary times. And sometimes this resulted in serious projects, such as Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, one of the seminal titles of this period that helped inspire the term "Dark Age" to begin with; but what has lasted much longer is the compulsion to create comedic material out of such fodder, from classic movies like The Specials and Mystery Men to Austin Grossman's recent and delightful Soon I Will Be Invincible. And now we have yet another example, absurdist author Minister Faust's From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain, which essentially covers the same ground as all the rest -- bored, petulant super-neurotics turn on each other once all super-crime has been vanquished, thus necessitating New Age psychiatric help lest they go too crazy and lose their lucrative commercial endorsements -- albeit to his credit, Faust inventively ties his particular look at this milieu metaphorically to the fate of the US after the end of the Cold War, giving us a confused and increasingly spoiled group of superfriends in the face of a complete lack of supervillains in their egotistical, entitled, all-powerful lives.

But there's a problem with this book, a big problem, which is that once Faust makes his metaphorical point, he has almost nothing else of originality to say; and so how he fills the rest of the novel is by having his utterly banal one-note characters endlessly spout tiresome dialogue reinforcing the one note of their personalities (a Britney Spears superhero who always talks in Valley-speak, a black superhero who always talks like Superfly, &c.), along with an infinite amount of petty arguments within the group therapy sessions constantly being forced on them by their superiors throughout the book. It's essentially 25 pages' worth of story surrounded by 375 pages of corny punchlines (and for ample proof of this, see the unbelievable 165 chapter and subchapter titles [yes, I counted], every single one of which consists of a bad pun involving superheroism); or if you prefer, it's Alan Moore's Watchmen as rewritten by a playground full of 12-year-olds. Dr. Brain unfortunately misses its satirical mark by a wide margin, and it's my recommendation today that you skip it altogether.

Out of 10: 5.8 ( )
1 vote jasonpettus | Nov 19, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
While fanboys might wish Faust had played it more straight, Brain is entertaining and impishly savvy about comics.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345466373, Paperback)

“An outlandish, outrageous tour de force by the most innovative prose stylist in the field.”
–Robert J. Sawyer, author of Hominids

They’re Earth’s mightiest superteam–and dysfunctional as hell.

OMNIPOTENT MAN–a body with the density of steel, and a brain to match

THE FLYING SQUIRREL–aging playboy industrialist by day, avenging krypto-fascist by night

IRON LASS–mythology’s greatest warrior–but the world might be safer if she had a husband

X-MAN–formerly of the League of Angry Blackmen . . . but not formerly enough

THE BROTHERFLY–radioactively fly

POWER GRRRL–perpetually deciding between fighting crime or promoting her latest album, clothing line, or sex scandal

Having finally defeated all archenemies, the members of the Fantastic Order of Justice are reduced to engaging in toxic office politics that could very well lead to a superpowered civil war. Only one woman can save them from themselves: Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman, aka Dr. Brain, the world’s leading therapist for the extraordinarily abled.

“Faust has pretty much invented his own genre. He’s totally original, full of surprises.”
–Richard K. Morgan, author of Altered Carbon

“Samuel Delany, Harlan Ellison, and Ishmael Reed all rolled into one. Faust’s writing is biting, insightful, and hugely entertaining.”
–Ernest Dickerson, director

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:25 -0400)

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