Thursday, 18 October 2012

Magical Chip Packets, And Your Chance To Win A Book Cameo!

Walking, talking crisp packets, with a taste for dangerous adventures and a tendency to mourn those who don’t survive it by dancing a slow jive of respect… It sounds like the stuff of Roald Dahl, but it’s actually as modern as “green peas” flavored, eco-warrior potatoes and Johnny the pirate chip packet, and it’s all part of Michael Diack’s new novel, The Super Spud Trilogy.

When Michael first contacted me about working on some book promotion (featuring the awesome prizes we have today), the concept alone had me so amused and intrigued that I couldn't resist, and it turned out like nothing I've ever read before. Even Michael’s publishing house couldn't categorize it, so I’m told they just asked him to remove the swear words so it could appeal to children as well as adults, and I can definitely see kids loving this book while their parents get a giggle from the puns, double entendres and satires scattered throughout it.

What's most interesting about this book, however, is that it breaks every writing rule I know. The main characters are constantly dying but their replacements are just as quirky (like G-Bat, the cape-wearing fighter of crimes against fashion, who can’t enter a room without diving through a glass window), and although there's no back story, deep point of view or any of the normal characterization you expect in a book, I wanted to experience the characters' journey with them anyway.

The plot jumps all over the place in a constant parody of films, popular culture, politics and sports. It’s great fun to see classics like James Bond being re-lived by magical chip packets, and even if it can’t teach you much about writing a story-line  it certainly makes enough fun of cliches to give you an idea of what to avoid. Occasionally I caught myself thinking ‘here we go again’, but generally the plot kept changing direction before I could get too annoyed, and my only concern upon finishing it was that I’d like to have seen more from a fairly abrupt ending. I also struggled with the editing at times, as there are instances of passive voice and telling instead of showing given that the book aims for children as well as adults, but you can forgive that if you look to the grown-up jokes which lie beyond it. After all it’s not pretending to be Dickens, it’s just meant to be a bit of a laugh.

While we’re on that subject the world-building is utterly ridiculous in the best possible way, being mainly set in garbage-dump cities like the famous Mount Sombrero in Mexico, and Michael has great attention to detail and a truly imaginative range of garbage related props for his characters to play with. As a result the book reads like an episode of South Park crossed with Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s brave, curious, or particularly fond of crisps.

Michael's own example sketch.
Now are you ready to bring out the
prize-winning artist in you?
Now if you want to score yourself a free copy, plus some other awesome prizes, this is your chance!  You see, Super Spud personalities are determined by their flavors, i.e. tuna flavors, being full of fish oil, are extremely smart, while steak and spinach flavors are thick, strong, and will do absolutely anything to earn a medal of ridiculous heroism for their kind. So, Michael is offering a signed copy of The Super Spud Trilogy to the best flavor/personality combo, PLUS their creation will get a cameo role in the next book!

And if that’s not enough, the best illustration of a Super Spud will earn a signed copy, PLUS a $30 e-voucher!  The contest will run from now until midnight on the 22nd October, so grab your drawing gloves and thinking caps because I’ll be posting an interview with Michael tomorrow, along with details on how to submit your entry. Good luck!


  1. I just love the title. I am constantly on the lookout for books my two boys would like, they are aged 13 and 11. Is this suitable?

    1. Hey Donna, I think it's probably fine. The most adult it gets is a couple of characters trying to woo the other half with their 'shiny package', and although the characters die a lot it's not hugely violent. I'll ask Michael if he's had any feedback around that. :D

  2. Hi Donna, thanks for liking the title. Feedback from reviewers have commented it's suitable for ages ten up. There is no swearing or sex and the violence is comic, they attack each other with thumbtacks or HB pencils. Younger readers might not get some of the jokes or pop culture references that's all. I'm looking forward to seeing whay new flavour personalities people come up with :-)

  3. *what. Typing without my glasses on was a bad idea...

  4. John Sneddon (Super Spud Illustration Entrant)20 October 2012 at 22:13

    Blue Cheese and Crackers flavour is more than just original and stands out in a crowd.

    He is a little hard of hearing so speaks very loudly and comically mis-hears what others are saying. Crackers describes not only the snacks that go with cheese but also the way he seems to be as no-one knows what he is thinking or talking about.

  5. New flavour: Super Sweet Spuds - Jam & Cream with white icing sugar packages :)

  6. love these two ideas, going to be hard choosing one - i might have to include them all or write a blog post with a whole new chapter featuring all the suggestions! A hard of hearing Super Spud and a super sweet, charity loving Super Spud, so many ideas coming from both suggestions. Great work guys