The Book of Squidly Light Now Available!

Book 2 in The Continuing Chronicles of Halycon Sage










Introducing Book 2 in the

Continuing Chronicles of Halycon Sage


What Readers Are Saying about The Book of Squidly Light

“This book is dynamic, intelligent, sensitive and poignant, containing both sunshine and rain. For this reader, it is a delightful apocalypse. It has a dizzying menagerie of characters dealing with time travel, alien encounters, parallel universes, all couched in the author’s core values of love, hope, courage and acceptance, combined with her inherent sense of whimsy and authenticity. The story is a beautiful tapestry of today’s headlines including a crazy dictator directing the theatre of the absurd.  It reads like science fiction, but feels like REAL.”

~ Brad Gustafson 

Foreword Review



Reviewed by Peter Dabbene
March 27, 2020

The Book of Squidly Light is a spirited and philosophical science fiction novel whose humor abounds.

Halycon Sage, a famous writer of very short books, meets aliens, enemies, and fights to stave off nuclear annihilation in Karima Vargas Bushnell’s wacky science fiction romp The Book of Squidly Light.

Halycon, whose mind shifts “between worlds and dimensions, reality and fantasy, tragedy and laughter,” survived the apocalyptic incident known as The Event. He lives with other survivors in a small town, where he encounters cephalopod-like aliens called Squidren. Interspecies social interactions, romance, nanobots, time travel, an alternate universe, and a cat who’s also an attorney factor in thereafter, blurring reality and fiction: the text even involves an “imaginary author,” Karima Vargas Bushnell.

The large cast includes a clear-thinking “Apocalypse Zombie” whose physical discorporation is explained by  [SPOILER REMOVED HERE] and Tarzun, who looks and acts like the Edgar Rice Burroughs character. Ranging references, both common and esoteric, are made and numbered; they are explained in the book’s endnotes.

Free-wheeling and unpredictable, the story proves to be dynamic. It employs a colorful, casual, almost conspiratorial tone, sometimes addressing the audience in a direct way: “We will draw an editorial veil over the meeting of Ruby and Halycon Sage after so long apart. Suffice it to say, they were very glad to see each other.” Humor abounds, incorporated with varying degrees of subtlety. An earnest alien poet inquires “Who built this city on rock ‘n’roll?” and writes, “Optometrist, eye thyself. Aye, thyself. I, thyself.”

Satirical turns tackle subjects including religion and politics, with veiled criticisms of the current US president involved, as well as an alien parallel to issues surrounding nontraditional gender roles. Beyond its social criticisms, it suggests singular perspectives regarding people’s commonalities and differences. A character suggests a straightforward division among beings: one group for people who want to save the Earth, distribute resources fairly, and not hurt people they haven’t met; and another group whose ethics are more questionable, putting their own interests above all others.

The book is punctuated by drawings and photographs, while its various fonts set “quoted” works apart from fictional sources and narrators. The novelty of its style becomes more self-indulgent as the book progresses, though, and the plot degenerates. Final scenes seem more like a required wrap-up than a grand conclusion.

Delivering random but inspired humor and social insights, The Book of Squidly Light is a spirited and philosophical science fiction work.

BlueInk Review



Reviewed: March 2020
Karima Vargas Bushnell’s The Book of Squidly Light is an eclectic, genre-bending novel exploring spiritual messages with tongue-in-cheek comedy. The first book, The Life and Times of Halycon Sage, introduced the eponymous Sage, an amnesiac and celebrated author.

Here, we find him just where he left off: dwelling in a world recently purged of modern technology and escaping into his writing, unaware of how his words impact a fluctuating multiverse. In a metafictional conceit worthy of a Charlie Kaufman film, it turns out that while Bushnell is the creator of Sage, Sage is the author of Bushnell and the reality—our reality—where she exists. In Sage’s world, he’s joined by a multicultural cast as they navigate the sudden discovery of a squid-like race of intelligent extraterrestrials. Meanwhile, in his fictional creation (our world), a mad dictator has come into power, threatening everything that really matters.

Setting things right will bring both worlds together in a collision that extends consciousness to inanimate machines, exposes politically motivated time-travel conspiracies, and harnesses the spiritual power of the written word. The Book of Squidly Light is ambitious but never too serious. Bushnell namechecks authors like Vonnegut and Heinlen—clues to the project she has in mind: a social novel drawing from sci-fi tropes to offer wry introspection about current affairs. Frequently funny in the vein of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams (although not every joke lands), the novel eschews the darkness of dystopia and finds hope in the shadows of apocalypse. It may well try to include too much (romance, literary criticism, spirituality, and political discourse—not to mention aliens, nanobots, and time travel), and often the details can be sketchy or plot points can appear almost deus ex machina when needed.

But readers shouldn’t sweat the details—the author certainly doesn’t. Instead, she’s having too much fun and betting that those seeking escape, however seemingly absurd, from the oppression of the current world, might just have fun, too. Also available as an ebook.

Book 1  – The Life and Times of Halycon Sage: The Last Book Ever Published 

HALYCON SAGE, founder of the post-modernist minimalist neo-symbolist pseudo-realist school of literature, has voluntarily disappeared. The author is hoping to save the world, but has also run away from the Mail Pile.

HALYCON SAGE, whose origins, identity and whereabouts are all mysterious and who may be a Native American male, is about to meet some odd characters: petulant critic Basel Vasselschnauzer, confused genius Alexander Preisczech, a Gypsy, assorted gang members and secret agents, and a shadowy figure of evil.

HALYCON SAGE has a faithful equine companion, No-Name Stupid (the original “Horse with No Name”). But even with Stupid’s dedicated assistance, can the great quest succeed? And will “Boo Radley Goes Hawaiian” ever be written?

Readers say, “Too much fun! Absolutely hilarious!” “A whole new kind of fiction that defies categorization. It’ll have you laughing out loud.” “This is a book different from your usual read, and one that has hidden depths.”