American Cheese

Fiction - Science Fiction
485 Pages
Reviewed on 02/19/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

Whimsically brilliant just about sums up Elucidazium - American Cheese by Jim Allenday. It is so funny, and yet it’s obvious that a lot of thought went into the creation of this novel. There is one novel that it reminds me of quite a bit, and that novel was a bestseller and is now considered a classic. I’m talking about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Both novels are brilliant. Both novels are funny. Both novels look at our culture and our world from a unique perspective that is almost an outsider’s perspective, but not so far outside that they can’t comment in funny and very pointed satire. I love books like this, but one or two a decade is enough for me so I’m in the market for one more like this in the next five years.

Elucidazium - American Cheese is funny on a whole lot of levels. But honestly, what I think I enjoyed most about this great book are the pictures and the recipes. Those alone are worth the price of admission. I tried a couple of the recipes out, since I happened to read Elucidazium - American Cheese on the weekend, and the recipes are easy to make and taste great. This is a story about a museum curator who can jump back and forth between alternate realities. But the rules are a little more refined than in the typical multiverse story and that makes for some hilarious reading. If you like Kurt Vonnegut style satire and humor mixed with a little modern pop culture science fiction, then you don’t want to miss this Jim Allenday book.

Rabia Tanveer

Elucidazium: American Cheese by Jim Allenday is an interesting science fiction novel that will reel you in right from the beginning. The story follows a man named Horatio Barnes. He is just an ordinary man who works as a museum curator and lives a very contented life. However, he is not as simple and ordinary as he seems. He has the power to jump back and forth between alternate realities. His life becomes really interesting when he is forced to become a detective and now he has a job to bring a hit-man to justice. Everything is not quite as it seems. What Horatio thinks would be easy turns out to be a catalyst for everything else that happens. Now that he has the responsibility to bring justice, there are lives at stake and he holds the power to help everyone else in this other dimension. Can he do it? He is just a museum curator after all? Is he strong enough to do it for everyone else and himself?

I simply loved, loved, loved the dry humor and the amazing character development of Horatio. He is definitely one of my favorite protagonists so far. The story is a little quirky, but it all fits well, largely because of Horatio. I loved his tenacity and his development. He started off being an almost happy go lucky guy and, by the end, he was stronger, sharper and ready to fight for everyone that needed his help. The cover of Elucidazium: American Cheese is a perfect amalgamation with the theme of the novel. I absolutely loved the way Jim Allenday wrote this novel!

Melinda Hills

Time travel and alternate realities are confusing at best, but Jim Allenday combines them in humorous and creative vignettes to create Elucidazium: American Cheese. A variety of stories told from numerous points of view make for interesting reading as you join Horatio Barnes, a jumper between alternate realities. Edited and compiled in the present by a science reporter, Mitchell Kinsella, the story takes readers along with Barnes through mythical and imaginative scenarios interspersed with recipes and advertisements from the multitude of realities through which Barnes has travelled, as well as excerpts of a book that was important to Barnes.

Jim Allenday is obviously an intelligent writer with a far-fetched sense of humor – two features he combines to create a story that keeps you wondering what will happen next and how the pieces fit together. The recipes, allegedly from a cookbook for children, seem interesting and some even downright tasty, and serve as segues between sections. Other graphics highlight different lifestyles from varied realities and provide some tongue in cheek, if not outright humor.

For readers who like a straight-forward story with a clear beginning, middle and end, Elucidazium: American Cheese may not be a good choice. If you appreciate creative takes on Shakespeare and cowboys spouting muse-inspired odes, along with tales of heroic deeds, second chances, and fallen angels, Allenday offers you an eclectic mix of odds and ends that blend together within the premise of representing research from cultures around the universe. Perhaps Jim Allenday is ushering in a new genre of writing with Elucidazium: American Cheese. Although it is listed as science fiction, I believe it is so much more and its reception by curious readers will determine the possible course of stories yet to come.

Arya Fomonyuy

Elucidazium: American Cheese by Jim Allenday is a book like no other. It tells the story of a man with great powers. Horatio Barnes inherited the uncanny gift of shifting from one reality to another from his father, Silas, a man who served in the army in the '70s. But having a special gift isn’t what makes Horatio Barnes an incredible character. It is the fact that on “May 11, 2009; whereupon I arrived in a parallel reality for a much-needed vacation. My girlfriend had recently left me, I hated my job, and I was on the run from a crossbow-wielding hitman named Quid.” Now he has to get justice for himself and get the hitman behind bars. He becomes a detective. Question is: Can he get to the hitman before the hitman gets to him?

The book starts with an intriguing message in the prologue, a message from Horatio Barnes to Mitchell Kinsella, a message that is as intriguing as it is desperate. A package needs to be handed over to NASA and lives are in danger. There is the pervading sense of danger that piques the reader’s curiosity from the very first page. The start of this incredible story leaves the reader with no choice but to want to know more about the characters and the issues that constitute the crux of the conflict. If you’re the kind of reader who loves originality in writing and who loves to be pulled into the story right away, then this one is for you. However, be careful because it is not like anything you’d expect. The writing is original, at times cryptic, and the action is intense, so intense you’ll be left behind if you do not pay much attention. But the illustrations, the press clippings, and the diagrams are hilarious.

There is a lot to enjoy in Elucidazium: American Cheese. The reader can easily feel lost at the beginning of the story or confused with the shifts between two alternate worlds. But as one reads on, one immediately starts to love the entire climate within which the story is construed. There is the weird feeling of revisiting the strange world of the madness that inhabits some part of us. The press clippings with the images are a splendid addition to the depth of the color, the entertainment potential, and the beauty of this story. Jim Allenday is a great entertainer, a writer who will remind contemporary readers of the powerful dichotomy between dream and waking, between fiction and reality. And although this is a work of fiction, it will remind readers of the friction they live with, the friction and the tension born of the fight between fantasy and reality. If you want an escape from the crude reality of life, Elucidazium: American Cheese is a whole new world to explore.