Visit my space over on Goodreads after you’ve read the book. Always appreciate reviews and good critique. Who knows, you may point something that actually gets incorporated into the next edition of the story. Stories evolve with good feedback.
Some reviews looked at the story from an aspect I hadn’t thought of myself.
The first review made me very happy. Not because he seemed to like it but because he “got” what I am trying to convey in my stories. Sadly, Amazon seems to have thrown up on his profile and he’s having to reconstruct it from scratch.
Reviews on the first volume
(Grady Harp, December 13)
Author Brad Branham has a definite knack for walking the walk and talking the talk of that dark and seemingly twisted world of underground rock bands. Despite his credentials being well lodged in the world of electrical engineering and software development on NASA projects, defense contracting, and scientific pursuits, his gut level response is for raw life fiction and offering other views and stances on those parts of the population that are esteemed by some, ignored by others, and avoided by most. There has to be a degree of music performer in this man to be able to describe his chosen life set of this novel – the underground rock bands. He observes them well and offers a different more entertaining cadence to this genre of novels than most other writers – a reminder of sorts of `The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’ by Tom Wolfe of 1968, but bounced forward some 45 years and with a hefty does of acid rock/goth/heavy metal.
The story opens in snowy Portland, Oregon where we meet Blar Umlaut (great name, cleverly devised!) who has been famous as a rock band musician once but his career is in abeyance at present. He meets Tsika, an exotic appearing Russian goth bass player who after a fall in the snow finds herself in the shower and loft of Blar. They have much in common – both are involved in weird garb and weirder music and both have their own concept of bands (Tsika has The Lost Girls – Tsika, Glycerin and Kpau) and it is this nonchalant coming together that leads the two into a different passage through the unreal fantasy world of underground rock as we follow these strange, volatile but ultimately fun and needy fellow human beings around the strange Dantesque levels of emotional highs and lows.
Branham writes well, able to paint the scenery and costumes of these grungy musicians with great skill. And at the core of his book are life lessons about relationships and dreams and fantasies that rise above the odd stagecraft. It makes us wonder where his next volume will take us.
B.H.Branham captivates the reader through the complex journey that makes up the human psyche while retaining enough comedy relief to keep the reader feeling sane. Branham successfully takes a page out of James Joyce’s playbook in writing from the female perspective as a male author. It Really Is Rocket Science is appropriately titled as it lightheartedly explores the complexity of the human condition, both male and female. Branham successfully engages an audience with a catchy premise and taboo relationships through characters that you can’t help but fall
Finished the 1st volume. It was good easy reading. You really did a good job describing the West Coast, very enjoyable. And I loved the cooking parts, the references to Stevie, Florence and the Machine, and Harley Quinn and how the chapters are so aptly titled. Well, you know, I see all of your family members have their rolls. Blar, the leader, Glyc, the victim, Kpau, the middle child role, Tsika, the co-dependent protector. Glyc obviously does not handle her demons as well as the others, but I see her as getting a lot attention for this, and thus retains a lot of control. What would happen if she got better? And again this is something I will learn from the next books.
“The synopsis gives you a pretty good idea what you’re in for. The title actually does too – once you realize that, like many a humourous band name, it’s a bit of a non-sequitur.
I found this novel a lot of fun to read. It has a petite, cussing gothloli, a road trip, and lots of the kind of humourous day to day interactions that makes things like Firefly fun to watch. Many of Branham’s descriptions are written in a similarly humourous style. The story isn’t just fluff either: the characters have some well thought out backstories and the book does throw in some drama here and there, even thought things never get too hot in this first volume (Branham already has a second book on the way).
I also have to give special mention to the characters of Glycerin – a tall, shy beauty who turns into something fantastic and mesmerizing on stage. If you’ve seen the anime K-On!, think of the contrast between the fantastic versions of Mio in the ending credit videos and the regular version seen in the show. And yes, Branham somehow makes it work in text form. At times, Glycerin feels like a deeper and more sophisticated take on that character – a choice I applaud.
Whether you like the cast as a whole is going to probably come down to a matter of tastes. I liked them a lot. Others may find the “Lost Girls” too broken (the book makes it pretty clear how the name is meaningful to them) and the more experienced Blar a bit too “boy scout”. Personally, I enjoyed the lot of them: they have great chemistry, and I particularly enjoy the fact Blar is a fairly ordinary guy – aside from happening to be a rock & roll god.
On the whole, I say if the premise interests you, check this one out!”