A smorgasbord of classic literary characters take on 21st-century technology in Stefan Soto’s new satire
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fans of classic literature rejoice! Don Quixote, Candide, and a huge cast of literary favorites are back in a grand new adventure set in the modern world. A perfect read for anyone who wished their favorite characters had more books, and for those who love literary reimaginings, Soto’s novel stays true to the characters’ original spirit while infusing a wit and humor all his own.
From space shuttles to cell phones, Don Quixote and Candide battle their way through a hilarious collection of misadventures on an enticing twisting narrative in OMG Don Quixote & Candide Seek Truth, Justice and, El Dorado in the Digital Age LOL (Argus Press, September 2017).
ABOUT THE BOOK: After years of living off their celebrity, Don Quixote and Candide join forces to seek adventure in the modern world. In this re-imagining of literary history the two meet Cyrano De Bergerac, Merlin, Sherlock Holmes, the crew of the Starship Enterprise, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Dean Moriarty, Elizabeth Darcy (nee Bennett) Mr. Darcy and multitude of historical figures, and share unexpected encounters with people from their past. While Don Quixote remains rooted in days of yore, Candide is preoccupied with exploiting all things modern. This rollicking fun-filled tale will entertain the well-educated and erudite reader with tongue-in-cheek humor. You are cordially invited to join Don and Candide on their quest to find truth, justice and El Dorado in the digital age.
STEFAN SOTO was raised by a Romani Princess and a Ukrainian circus performer. He resides on an English canal and has no known address. His early works were banned by most right-thinking European powers. The author invites readers to investigate Cervantes and Voltaire's original treatments of the title characters.
An Interview with Stefan Soto
Why bring Don Quixote and Candide together for this tale? Why not two other characters? I have admired both characters for some time and always wondered what it would be like if the two were to travel together. They seem to be a natural fit, like Hope and Crosby, for a road tale.
How did you choose which characters from other fictional books to include in this adventure? Some characters are chosen by the terrain Don and Candide traverse: London (Sherlock Holmes), Mississippi River (Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn), Paris (Cyrano de Bergerac), on the road (Dean Moriarty). Cervantes spent time as a Barbary pirate slave, which is how he ended up on a pirate galley in this book. Why I involved Elizabeth Bennett-Darcy in that episode is a good question. The boys needed to rescue someone on their quest, and she was available.
What is a “convergence,” and how does it figure into the plot? A convergence is a Möbius-strip-like time warp that rotates around itself. In other words, I needed a plot device to move Don and Candide through different time periods so they could meet characters from those eras, and a “convergence” seemed like a good idea. It probably already appears in sci-fi literature and in fact might be an actual phenomenon. Who knows?
“Don Quixote” and “Candide” obviously strongly impacted you. When did you first read them, and what made them stick with you long enough to write a novel about them? In 2003 I made a new year’s resolution to read classic literature. Without hesitating, the person working at the bookstore I entered thrust a volume of “Don Quixote” into my hands. I was soon hooked. One of my early works was based on Cervantes’ novel. From there I started reading other picaresques, including “Candide.” The historian David McCullough is a Quixote fan. He once told a graduating class, “Read Cervantes, and soon. Don’t wait until after you’re 50 as I did.”
How did the crew of Star Trek’s “SS Enterprise” get pulled into this tale? Because Don and Candide had entered a convergence, who else could they meet but the crew from Star Trek whose mission is to explore space and time?
Satire is a difficult genre to write successfully. For others working on a satirical tale, what advice would you give them? For me, good satire isn’t so specific that it becomes dated. Voltaire’s “Candide” probably targeted specific people and events, but it is written broadly enough to appeal to later generations. We read it now and nod our heads. The same follies that befell his contemporaries are repeated by ours. Time will tell if this book fits into the category of successful satire.