Guide A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employees Guide to Saving the World: A Novel

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I did enjoy the characters, and the various philosophically-affiliated fast food chains the Cathars' rather unsuccessful, and ultim I loved the premise of this book - and really, a title like that is far too brilliant to pass up - but the book didn't really work for me. I did enjoy the characters, and the various philosophically-affiliated fast food chains the Cathars' rather unsuccessful, and ultimately self-defeating, strawberry sundae chain made me giggle - difficult to successfully sell fast food if you want to cast off all material matters, including your own flesh , and I liked the idea of the secret language, the notion that the hapless Neetsa Pizza complaints line guy could end up counselling Marco Polo - and indeed, all the ideas represented here.

But somehow, all these excellent notions never quite gelled into a whole for me. The whole experience of reading the book was rather like a dream - one is left with bright shards of complicated and brilliant notions dancing just outside one's grasp, but when one tries to put them together they fall apart into nothingness. Simultaneously fascinating and frustrating.

I have a feeling that there is an audience out there just waiting for this book, and that it's going to have a cult following somewhere. But I am, sadly, not that audience. Feb 04, Laura rated it liked it Shelves: public-library-loan. The tone and narrative this book was excellent. I find myself endeared with the characters and reading usually defined what happens next. However for speculative fiction book I found world building to be less than adequate. Like so many great speculative fiction writers, the author does not give a background to the alternative world, but there tells it and drips and drabs through allusions made to it throughout the book.

Unlike Atwood and Adams, however, this world is not fully fleshed out using The tone and narrative this book was excellent. Unlike Atwood and Adams, however, this world is not fully fleshed out using this method. Rather the reader left confused as to what this world fully looks like, whether it is an alternative reality over future, and the background to the setting. The elements seem randomized - unexplained sci-fi technology, single Leader but many different political factions, an Indian word for a thousand, and ancient term for distance.

Once we travel back in time, I was fairly certain we were in our own past, but that was never clearly established. This was really disappointing, since the alternative reality is so very promising at first. The idea of distinct movements based on different historical figures Roger Bacon, Pythagoras, Mao and the notion of each operating their own fast food franchise is clever and interesting. If only the author had stuck to this theme and fleshed it out more it would have been an excellent read. Jul 15, Abigail rated it really liked it Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi , fiction.

Set in the "near-future" not a quote from the book, just quoted because I really hope it stays fictional He's content with his boring life but then he starts getting phone calls from Marco Polo I got an arc copy of this book at ALA last summer, started reading, then got distracted, as is my wont. But I came back eventually t Set in the "near-future" not a quote from the book, just quoted because I really hope it stays fictional But I came back eventually to a book I knew I'd want to read since the publisher's presentation.

I was not disappointed. It is a well-written, off the wall, not-quite sci-fi adventure with enough zany sharan terms to keep you laughing and engaged throughout. The relationship between Leonard and his nephew, Felix, was easily my favorite thing about the book. It is so sweet and feels like a very real bond. Leonard's growth throughout is also just lovely to watch. He starts very milquetoast and becomes a hero. She felt like very much the same person before and after time travel and mysticism and didn't have the strong arc Leonard and Felix did. Other than that small gripe, it's a really enjoyable book and a quick read once you actually read it Apr 04, David Harris rated it really liked it.

Leonard is a complaints handler for Neetsa Pizza, a Pythagorean pizza company. In a world where everything is recognisable, but a bit different money is always "lucre"; clothes are "togs"; everyone has an Afro and rival philosophies - latter day Baconians, Heraclitans, Whiggs - jostle for power through their fast food chains we are still, it seems, cursed with a Leader So Leonard sits all night in his White Room, listening to irate c Leonard is a complaints handler for Neetsa Pizza, a Pythagorean pizza company. So Leonard sits all night in his White Room, listening to irate customers and seeling to Convery them.

Calls that tell him he must save the world. This wasn't one of the scenarios his training prepared him for. And Revolutionary Stew.

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Lots of Revolutionary Stew. It's great fun, entertaining and a bit frothy.

What People are Saying

Jan 25, JudithAnn rated it really liked it. The story itself? I found it rather weird, but in an attractive way. The idea is fun: a pizza company complaints officer accidentally gets a call from a 13th Century explorer. After the first struggles about going off-script, they start having interesting conversations well, interesting for them, I was rather confused and eventually, Leonard is persuaded to leave his safe place and go out in the world… to the library, of all things! There is time travel involved yay!

Was I supposed to look up what these people really stood for, or was it just a bit of name-dropping, a bit of fun? Maybe a bit of both. Jan 22, lisa rated it did not like it. I wanted to read this book because of two phrases on the back cover: "woman librarian" and "anarchist book group". I'm not a fan of science fiction, but I thought I would take a chance based on those phrases.

After twenty pages I was disgusted with the plot, and there were no librarians or book groups. I skipped to the end, which made no sense to me, but neither did the beginning of this story. I have a I wanted to read this book because of two phrases on the back cover: "woman librarian" and "anarchist book group". I have a feeling this will become a cult favorite, like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and lots of people will be willing to give their lives for it, and I will be standing alone, arguing with all of them like "This book is SO SO SO stupid, how can everyone like it so much?

Jan 24, Martha Bullen rated it liked it.


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  4. A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or; a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World?

This quirky, whimsical sci-fi novel is not for everyone. Are you a fan of Dr. If so, you'll have a great time reading A Highly Unlikely Scenario. Do you enjoy conventional novels set firmly on terra firma? Then this book is not likely to float your boat. This debut novel by Rachel Cantor involves an unlikely quest by Leonard, a Neetsa Pizza employee who is reluctantly battling the forces of evil, accompanied This quirky, whimsical sci-fi novel is not for everyone.

This debut novel by Rachel Cantor involves an unlikely quest by Leonard, a Neetsa Pizza employee who is reluctantly battling the forces of evil, accompanied by his 7-year-old nephew and a librarian with mystical powers. Add an anarchist book club, The Brazen Head, several Jewish mystics one is Leonard's beloved deceased grandfather and time travel to the mix, and you're in for a wild ride.

View all 4 comments. Aug 01, Matt rated it really liked it Shelves: scifi-and-fantasy. Absolutely not what I thought it would be, and yet completely what I thought it would be, I really enjoyed this book. I'm giving it four stars for now, but it's possible I could bump it up to five stars depending on how thoroughly it stays with me a few months down the line.

A Highly Unlikely Scenario blends cyberpunk mysticism with goofy humor

The comparisons to Douglas Adams are certainly apt, but I worry that they could set some false expectations. Really this is a chaotic, funny, sad, and sweet book that mixes Pythagoreanism, Jewish mysticism, mediev Absolutely not what I thought it would be, and yet completely what I thought it would be, I really enjoyed this book.

Really this is a chaotic, funny, sad, and sweet book that mixes Pythagoreanism, Jewish mysticism, medieval philosophy and heresies, with a satirical future world ruled by fast food chains. When you finish, you will likely find yourself wanting to practice 5 minutes of awesome karate kicks.


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  • Nov 04, Jennifer rated it it was ok Shelves: books , scifi-fantasy. Jun 27, Alex rated it really liked it. An absurdist take on fast food as philosophy, Jewish mysticism, history, and time travel, with a Hitchhiker's Guide tone and a dystopian setting.

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    It could be the biggest collection of cynical attempts at hitting every market if it weren't for its rather large heart. There's a nice sense of the things Leonard has lost, even if he doesn't know he's lost them, and a really great relationship with his nephew and his potential girlfriend, both of whom might also be the keys to stopping or starting th An absurdist take on fast food as philosophy, Jewish mysticism, history, and time travel, with a Hitchhiker's Guide tone and a dystopian setting.

    There's a nice sense of the things Leonard has lost, even if he doesn't know he's lost them, and a really great relationship with his nephew and his potential girlfriend, both of whom might also be the keys to stopping or starting the apocalypse.

    Shelf Awareness for Readers for Friday, January 17, 2014

    Throw in a superb sense of humor and you've got a fun, quick read. Jun 15, Matthew rated it it was amazing. In a world where the major philosophers are brand gurus from competing fast food chains, the slogans and speeches are as unhealthy for you as the meals. One family, along with a kick-ass librarian, can change the fate of the world if they complete three mysterious quests. This novel is as serious as Orwell's and as funny as Adams' first Hitchhikers' Guide. Order in a triangular pizza and don't mention the Tibetans. Jul 16, Rebekah rated it really liked it.

    Instead, it's a weird, amusing little jaunt into Jewish mysticism, Marco Polo, and time travel that I think I probably need to read two or three more times to fully grasp.

    A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World

    Jan 01, Teresa Osgood rated it liked it. I've read a couple of novels involving Jewish mysticism, and they're all weird. The science-fiction setting of this one sets it apart, though.