The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
171 Pages
Reviewed on 07/02/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Cameron A. Straughan is an award-winning writer. He was born in a small, conservative lake-side town whose motto was “don’t change anything” and its social machinations - and their impact upon him - would not be out of place in any given Morrissey lyric. A loner by nature, his endless hours spent fishing and exploring the local woods and waterways led him to a career as a fisheries biologist.

His career led him across Canada and down into New York. He became more interested in the social and cultural aspects of science – in particular science communication. This led him to pursue two additional degrees - a Master of Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Education. For his Master’s, he made a documentary on Algonquin Park wolves. As a teacher, he taught secondary science and biology, and primary school, for 12 years in England. He now works as a STEM teacher in a Northern Ontario First Nations school.

His vivid dreams, fascination with surrealism, love of photography and film-making, and professional experience with both scientific and technical writing helped develop his unique, clean, matter-of-fact visual style – where the commonplace is juxtaposed with the fantastic.

His blog, “Trapped on a Rock Floating in Space”, is a perfect encapsulation of his view of life and his desire to reach out and share ideas with similar-minded individuals. The blog’s tagline sums him up well: “The singular adventures of a lone traveller drifting through time, searching for peace, comfort and meaning.”

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen by Cameron A. Straughan chronicles the whimsical and bizarre escapades of Anthony Zen, whose daily life is marked by bizarre visions and capricious encounters, from peculiar dreams like attending a belated costume party in a banana suit to maneuvering through city streets teeming with distractions. He enjoys the lively atmosphere of his apartment and delights in playful moments with his cat, Monty. His interactions with friends and family often lead to absurd situations, such as a dinner outing with his parents that turns into a comedy of errors involving a sheepish restaurant owner. Anthony's adventures range from encountering a wise man on Mount Tingtension to facing unconventional trials like driving with a gorilla on his car roof, all while reflecting on life's unpredictable nature and finding humor in its absurdities.

What do a day of relaxation at a cinema, rowdy patrons, a motorcycle gang, and donut therapy all have in common? That would be The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen by Cameron A. Straughan! Straughan's collection of stories is clever and fun, and it's almost impossible not to have fallen in love with it by the time we meet a lost tuna casserole. It's silly in the same way as when you wake up from a dream and, for the life of you, cannot figure out what a bus in space has to do with a giant egg. Anthony isn't able to make a lot of sense out of it either, but he sure makes us smile while he's trying. Most of the stories and writing are suitable for readers of any age, although there is a little potty mouth regarding actual dog potty, and reading it to a child at bedtime might do more to energize them than to settle them down. Still, there's no shortage of laughs here and as far as bite-sized pieces of fiction go, Straughan delivers a winner.