Not satisfied with putting words into the mouths of Murphy Brown and Jeff Foxworthy, Hollywood writer/producer Russ Woody has birthed a world and populated it with a slew of two-foot-tall grumps.
Woody, a recent guest at Chico State University, his alma mater, envisions a world at the center of our own that is in some way responsible for keeping earth rotating. The upside-down tale--complete with exploding heads, quivering mucus and other gross-out elements designed to appeal especially to pre-teens--has a logic all its own. Call it "circular logic."
The story is told in "The Wheel of Nuldoid" ($15.95 in paperback from Pointless Ink) which includes marvelously quirky drawings and maps by Norman Felchle. Readers can taste the book ahead of time at www.nuldoid.com and if they start to get cramps the story is having its intended effect.
It begins in the 2060s. Old Grampa Worst tells his grandchildren the bizarre story of his son, Warren, back in the late 1980s, after the earth's rotation had begun to slow. People became more sluggish as gravity pressed in, so, writes Woody, ratings for such shows as "Murphy Brown" shot through the roof. And a couple of sinister beer-loving Nuldoids, Kyle and Morton, who never ceased to argue and swear ("murk fuddle!" "Ya stinkin' drobbs horkels!"), journey to the surface in search of the Crystal somehow connected to the fate of Hoidenall (earth).
Mind-blowing adventures soon begin for Warren and Leo, "a student in Warren's social studies class, a scruffy-looking kid of eleven," and Warren's friend Lily. The humans, "Crustoids" or just "Toids," must travel to Nuldoid via the region of the Oidenoids, the "wandering conformists" who think their interpretation of the sacred "Book of Lloyd" is the only correct one.
Nuldoid is a place "where north was south and great was mediocre, where conflict and dissent and bickering were good and welcome things and where spit was greasy." It's "Hib nobb del noid" (literally 'Within dat circular circle, circles all dat is to be moved in dat circle"), referring to the "belief that everything exists in a circle. Therefore happiness is next to unhappiness, evil is next to good, fat to thin." Argument produces essential movement.
In Woody's fast-paced upside down story there are, indeed, wheels within wheels.