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Laura Roberts can leg-press an average-sized sumo wrestler, is a word-game enthusiast who sucks at Scrabble, and has written at least one of her novels in just three days. She is the founding editor of Black Heart Magazine and publishes whatever strikes her fancy at Buttontapper Press. She currently lives in an Apocalypse-proof bunker in sunny SoCal with her artist husband and their literary kitties, and can be found on Twitter @originaloflaura.
Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, Laura has penned 14 books, including the alphabetical travel guides Montreal from A to Z and San Diego from A to Z, the offbeat writing guides NaNoWriMo: A Cheater’s Guide and Confessions of a 3-Day Novelist, and the satirical adventure tale, Ninjas of the 512. She is also the editor of the poetry collection, Haiku for Lovers, and the new annual anthology, Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned from Pop Songs.
on April 23, 2012 :
Written in only 72 hours this was Laura Roberts entry in Canada’s 3 day Novel Contest.
Just a week before the start of the new term, History teacher Suzie Jimenez received an E-mail from the head teacher informing her that due to Governor Nick Harry’s budget cuts their school would be closing it’s doors indefinitely and she was fired. Angry, confused and looking for answers she contacts all the other teachers and together they set up a protest march in front of the Capitol building. This is just the beginning of what turns into a full on battle between the people and the state. But it’s no ordinary war this one not only has the ‘evil politicians’ but they share the stage with ninja’s and pirates in this tongue in cheek political novella.
‘Rebels of the 512’ is a satirical novella about Texan politics. Being neither a Texan nor an American, a lot of the references are lost on me but this in no way takes away my understanding of the plot. Politicians are the same world over and the subject normally sends me to sleep. Amazingly this book didn’t have the yawn factor I imagined it would, Laura Roberts is witty and her ability to write humour kept a smile on my face to the end.
(reviewed 44 days after purchase)
on April 22, 2012 :
It's a wacky premise: a corrupt Governor shuts down a high school causing a wave of demonstrations soon leading to ninjas battling pirates. It's ludicrous. It's fun. It has sex scenes. It was written for Canada's Three Day Novel contest.
It is a political satire picking on conservative religious greedy politicians and backwards hick Texans. I never felt that it was real or deep enough to be a truly scathing criticism. The descriptions, characters and plots feel underdeveloped like someone wrote the book in three days and could not take the time to flesh it out.
Suspend your disbelief and don't ask too much of the diction and you'll find this to be a fun book to read. It's unpredictable and original. With more work it could be awesome.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on April 18, 2012 :
A solid romp of mayhem and slapstick fun, whether it's cavemen vs astronauts or in this case ninjas vs pirates you get what you want. It's a no holds barred, keystone cop style battle royal with some other sweaty sport thrown in for good measure. A little cheek to poke at society through the bars with a good stick and you are off and running in your Tabi boots.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
on March 25, 2012 :
Some very funny stuff. At first I thought the character might wake from a dream. When she didn't I relaxed and enjoyed the ride. The author's tongue's in her cheek and should stay there. She has an unsubtle subtlety.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
on Feb. 18, 2012 :
Does it really matter what political parties "stand for" any more? What if you stripped away the bumper stickers, the phony piety and hollow everymanism to expose their true essence? You'd probably end up with something similar to ninjas and pirates. Both hate each other. Why? Who cares. Let's fight.
There are similar scenes in Laura Roberts's excellent humor novella, Rebels of the 512. (Note to author Roberts: I know you're an editor and may ding me for using "Roberts's," but I stand firm on using 's on singular nouns. Just be glad I didn't write "scene's" just now. You'd probably kill me.) In a pitched battle between ninjas and pirates, the exhausted sides agree to settle it on an arm wrestling match.
While this makes for good humor, it reveals a potent remark about politics. Heated debates often devolve into childish gestures hurled between sides. Whoever puts up the strongest fight wins, regardless of whether it was the best outcome.
Understanding the political references isn't critical to enjoying Rebels of the 512. Neither is living in Austin, Texas, where the piece takes place. Nor is knowing much about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, parodied here as villian "Nick Harry."
All you really need to know is that Gov. Harry's budget cuts put teacher Suzie Jimenez out of a job. She goes on the warpath with a group of ninjas determined to defeat Harry's pirates. Hilarity ensues.
But the plot isn't what makes Rebels of the 512 tick. It's Roberts's sense of comedic timing that really matters - and shines. Writing humor is all about knowing when to plant and harvest a joke. It's something that can't be taught. An author either has it or doesn't. Roberts has it in spades.
That's why Rebels of the 512 is such a fine read. This is an author who knows how to write humor. Don't be fooled by the slapstick, it's not an easy thing to do. That she wrote it in three days as part of a contest proves Roberts's humor chops beyond the remotest shadow of a doubt.
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)