By Travis Tea

Reviewed by Justin Credible

Atlanta Nights is an unparalleled masterpiece, a bright supernova in a star-field of dying talent. Interstitial and decadent in turns, it rewrites narrative causality with an brisk off-handedness and a superlative lack of pomp.

Tea is a true Assam.

In Atlanta Nights rising author Travis Tea rewrites the rules of fiction as he engages with Saussurean linguistic theories and Derrida's assertion that language is a network of sliding meanings to assert Lacan's position on the pre-embryonic stage. It is a work of exceeding post-modernism that sparkles like a finely-cut diamond in a house of mirrors.

It may be called a murder mystery, a historical thriller, a romance of two worlds, a world war story, a sci-fi roller-coaster ride, but in the end this is a deeply humane exploration of love, life and relationships that ends with transcendence - just as it transcends traditional genre lines as expertly as a virgin maid rolling a cigar on her pink and flawless thighs.

In the roll call of modern novelists Travis Tea takes his well-earned position at the very top. Echoes of Cervantes, Hemingway, Silverberg, Hesse, Gilgeud, Eliot, Zelazny, Hammet, Le Guin and King are threaded through the narrative like golden threads, combining in a final, tonal, earth-shuttering climax... Travis Tea takes no prisoners, leaves no survivors in his quest for the perfect novel - a quest that is now at an end. Atlanta Nights is it!

Faster than a speeding ticket... It's a plain, its a bird - no, its Atlanta Nights, signalling the end of fiction - as we know it...

For all that, this novel is ergonomically written. The best writing is always simple and to the point, and in Atlanta Nights there are no superfluous excursions into extralinguistic tendencies to distract and confabulate; no perambulatory prognostications into obscure, obsequious pampering of the mother tongue. No, the writing remains sparse, unobtrusive, almost minimalist, though in places the writing is overwritten and needs severe editing if it's to become anything near ergonomically written.

It is in characterisation that the novel excels. These characters are not merely three-dimensional; they are six-dimensional at the least. The firmness of Nurse Eastman's breasts, for example, as they leap from the page to slap the unwary reader about the ears, is little short of breathtaking. One can almost feel Dr Nance's skill drawn like a scalpel about life's chalk board. And who could guess that at its ending the book itself would assume character as it is thrown across the room to lodge in the government agent's skull and so save the world from imminent bureaucracy? Such is the writing alive in Atlanta Nights.

What many uneducated and untrained critics have failed to notice is that the author very cleverly weaves Jungian synchronicity into the very text itself. The Bookwright critic stridently complains that Atlanta Nights is full of illogicalities, and cites the fact that the narrator is a woman who gets shot in the left testicle, and absentmindedly scratches her right ovary whenever she gets tense; and that after she is killed, her spirit is often referred to as 'he', and that he/she sometimes walks through tables and sometimes knocks them flying. Only a high school dropout would assume these details to be an error on Tea's part. The author is subtly telling us that gender politics--and Newtonian physics--might well be banished in the Afterworld, and that it is hopelessly old-fashioned to insist on sequentially relating the bullet-ridden left testicle with the later scratching of the right ovary. The same critic says that “when Nurse Vance bent down to pick up his bed pan, the suddenly increased width of her buttocks reminded him that the sun would soon be setting hugely on the African horizon” is a clumsy misuse of figurative language. Such blindness! We are not meant of course to take this seriously. It is self-consciously mocking, a subtle clue that the narrator himself (when not herself) is a victim of apophenia, perceiving connections and meaningfulness where others would see only disorder.

Indeed, it is this intense and powerful imagery that at once strikes the reader. “Made rigid by anger, Bette's usually softly wobbling boobs glimmered faintly like two parboiled King Edward potatoes caught in the flush of a pink sunset or a palatial toilet”. Notice here the sheer precision of the image, the cunning back echo, and the subtle foreshadowing of the discovery that the nurse Bette is in fact the illegitimate daughter of an English nobleman; who is himself later vividly described as having a nose “that curled so disdainfully high that bits of cumulus cloud got mixed up with the aristocratic mucus already lodged in the nostrils like daglocks on a sheep's legs.” This clearly is writing of the highest order.

Delightful too are the many minor eccentric characters: the hero's sister who has just discovered she has exactly 666 freckles on her body, and seeks an exorcism on Medicare; the tormented priest from Milwaukee who says she must be mistaken in her sums, and offers to count them himself, only to perspiringly lose count on the 234th freckle, which happens to be balanced on a delicate female embonpoint not immediately obvious to the untrained male eye; the top model who suffers from vestibular vertigo; the hilariously clumsy waiter who has not just one limp, but two, and both in the same leg, which happens to be wooden; the sinister killer, known only as the Orator, stalking the US President.

Atlantic Rights is that rare baste, a genuine succedaneum, an important and fundamentally stramineous work with hodiernal significance, that should never, in no circumstances, not remain unread: an exploration of the hysterical impotence of the eight common principles of right in future peace which was presumably is a reference to the Anglo-American declaration of the Second World Wart that will be enjoyed by any reader boasting a degree of hypaesthesia and a modicum of titubation - not to mention ubiety - and particularly appreciated by hose afflicted by xanthodontousness. It is often said that a critic mutt be critical in his critique and in places, it could be said, a rhytidectomy is called for it could be said. But. Notwithstanding. The cultural importance and cinematic possibilities of this girthy volume and associated garments can never be over rated. Mothers are people two, whatever Tea has to say on the subject.

Indications off the authors' taphephobia sparkle in the dark text like supernovas after the event: death coils through the plot humorously killing off everybody who isn't and little love is lost or found, though the reunification of the hornedy lovers in the zingerber grove (chapter 13) brought tears to my eyes and continued long after the pages had warmed the room. Regretfully, the significance of llama sausages was lost. Overall, we must applaud the lugubrious Monsieur Teaze's spectacular battle with bioluminescence, for Atlantean Knights delves blind into the very hart of pre-history, encouraged rather than deterred by nescience as he follows in the footsteps of those who was not in the golden days of Atlantis. This is impressive stuff, a novel the writer of which's imagination soars unbounded leaving the reader breathless and sobbing. The introduction of a third gender might prove somewhat disturbing for them not familiar with Tease fiction - indeed in this navel believability is stretched to Amazonian hip proportions at times - but he makes his case welt, albeit at the thirteenth hour, by an totally irrrelevunt analysis of the genetic disposition of tsotsi-flies. Atalanta, the heroine of this spectacular first navel, was the daughter of Zeus and could run like hell. So should we.


Atlanta Nights was fabricated by a group of writers using the collective pseudonym Travis Tea, with none of them aware of what the others were doing or where their individual contributions would be situated in the final manuscript, and with everyone given carte blanche to make as many errors as they wished, the purpose of the exercise being to test to destruction the quality control claims being made by PublishAmerica.

Full details of the sting can be found here including links to the Official Travis Tea Website and to a site where you can purchase the book itself, with proceeds to charity. You can also, at your own risk, download a copy of Atlanta Nights.

We here at Whispers of Wickedness decided to review the book in the same spirit in which it was written, and so assigned the work to a team of reviewers who were unaware of each other's contributions and hadn't sullied their objectivity by actually reading Atlanta Nights.

Justin Credible, in no particular order, are Liza Granville, Steven Pirie, Lavie Tidhar and Steve Redwood.

Any similarity between statements made in this review and the content of Atlanta Nights itself is purely coincidental.

Atlanta Nights by Travis Tea. Pb, 299pp, $11.94. Published by


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