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Hoopty Time Machines

4.69  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  21 reviews
HOOPTY TIME MACHINES: fairy tales for grown ups is a collection of forty-five fantastical stories filled with peculiar journeys and wild awakenings, with fairytale heroines, introspective superheroes, and a whole menagerie of monsters—each one deeply human, and a little bit heartbreaking.

One of the "most anticipated small press books of 2016" (John Madera, Big Other).

Paperback, 134 pages
Published September 22nd 2016 by Atticus Books
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Average rating 4.69  · 
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 ·  52 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This is totally my kind of book.
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well, this is an absolutely gorgeous book. Inside and out. Beautifully designed with a stunning cover and layout. But read this. Read these stories. They are gaspingly original and daring. My personal favorites were the very tiny ones you could read in a breath: "The Dinner Party" ("Anxiety was the first guest to arrive, as usual."), "The Sacred Book of Salmon" ("...we are told to love other salmon as we would have other salmon love us."), "Indestructible"...Oh, "Notes and Origin Myths" at the e ...more
Bree Barton
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about monsters, the ones underneath the house and the ones inside it; this is a book about love, the kind you feel and the kind you wish you felt; this is a book about life, the one you imagined you'd be living, and the one that's actually yours.

This is a book about longing, about traversing the space between real life and fairy tales, and about real characters trading in their banalities for myth. But it's just as much about mythical characters, the Godzillas and Supermans and Ra
Andrea Ruth
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm loving the shit out of Hoopty Time Machines. The pieces are so sad, funny, scary and clever the just need to be read aloud to your friend while sitting on the couch. ...more
Kate Arms
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found it compelling from the first page and although I stopped for a few hours of sleep and to get the kids to school, I basically couldn't/wouldn't put it down.

DeWan captures the uncanny, the modern, and the mythological in these lovely short pieces. Reading this stirred many emotions within me: yearning, humility, sadness, and a deep aesthetic pleasure. I have consistently been impressed with his short stories as they have been published singly in magazines. This collectio
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite things about this book is that at the end, the author explains the ideas behind the stories in “Notes and Origin Myths”. I wish I would have realized this while reading it because I think it really adds a lot to understand the context of the individual stories.

My favorite quote is in “Rapunzel’s Tangles”: "… she loved him, but maybe because what we mean by ‘love’ is sometimes a nice, portable word to describe the shorthand, the easy easiness that we’re lucky to experience with
Jason M.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As I was reading this book (taking the stories in in several-at-a-time batches), I thought of two things: Meals and Hors d'oeuvres.

Later I thought:

-Why couldn't one make a whole meal out of just hors d'oeuvres?
-And what if the hors d'oeuvres were in themselves "meals"?
-A meal made of little meals could surely fill you up just as much as a normal standalone meal, couldn't it?
-You might end up even more full, right?
-And was I even spelling that h word correctly? Dad used to call them Whores De O
John Madera
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Christopher DeWan’s Hoopty Time Machines (Atticus Books) is a fabulous collection of fabulist miniatures, where you’ll find monsters, in a labyrinth, in a well, and innumerable creatures in and out of holes, drains, pipes, wells; where you’ll find an atheist bearing stigmata, an obsessive wallpaper-er, a boy changeling, trolls, conscious salmon, an un-scary bogeyman, a haiku-reading Godzilla, Poseidon’s cuckold, Frankenstein’s cuckquean; and defamiliarized myths and legends sending up Goldil ...more
R.K. Walz
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
These tiny stories are fun to read aloud, easy to read again and again, and the more you do, the more they worm into your brain where they wait, and dream and grow into something much larger. It takes a true craftsman to pare down stories to their (to quote the author) atomic propositions, and that's what you'll find here. ...more
Aaron Even
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This brilliant book of short fiction is packed with fun, adventure, insights, and unexpected reimaginings of what the short story can and should be. On top of all that, it will make you laugh out loud!
Jan Stinchcomb
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Late to this party but I enjoyed it. Personal favorites: "Social Media," "The Trolls" and "Godzilla Reading Haiku." I look forward to Christopher DeWan's next book. ...more
Jeff Narucki
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If Rod Serling and W. Somerset Maugham had a baby, this would be it.

Fun, thoughtful, and entertaining.
Miette Gillette
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had this habit as a kid, where if I tasted something delightful and new, I'd spit it into my palm, half-chewed, for a close examination, admiring it's half-masticated spittle-flecked self, thinking a closer look at its guts might unlock something mystical, before popping it back mouthward and polishing it off. Or maybe I was just a disgusting child, which is more likely.

While I didn't actually put Hoopty Time Machines into my mouth (yet), I couldn't help but perform the reader's equivalent of
Glassworks Magazine
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every child hears “Once upon a time” and immediately knows that “happily ever after” is on its way. Snow White is woken up with Prince Charming’s kiss. Ariel gets her legs and her man. Cinderella is reunited with her precious glass slipper and her true love. But what happens when you wander off into your own once upon a time, only to find that Cinderella’s other shoe has dropped on your head? Suddenly you’re sitting on the commuter train, heading into another Monday of sucking down crappy coffee ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Short, clever, funny, often bittersweet stories. I pretty much devoured them. They have alternative takes on traditional fairytales and myths, as well as poignant stories that allude to problems in our society.

One of the ones that hit me the hardest and gave me a moment of introspection:

The Wallpaper:
"She liked the wallpaper so much that she papered the outside of her house with it, then the windows of her house, her shed, her lawn, the mailbox, the street lamp, the sidewalk, her car, the windsh
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Christopher DeWan's Hoopty Time Machines is practically a trick of physics. How does he fit such expansive, funny, and full-blooded stories into such small spaces? It's like that cartoon gag where a peek inside a pup tent turns reveals a decked-out palace interior. In these contemporary fables, most only a few pages long, the landscape of everyday life is tweaked with surrealist touches that are as illuminative as they are surprising. The book is a passport to 45 cliché-free worlds you've never ...more
Courtney Novak
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ooh I loved this and I'm not normally into short stories. But I was hooked from my first peek inside. Funny but poignant, clever and insightful. I'll definitely be reading more by this author. ...more
Clem Paulsen
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing


But it's impossible to find -- I'm told the publisher went belly up soon after its publication.

Finger-length sticky tapes of fiction - the shortest a sentence, the longest perhaps a thousand words. Portraits, perversions of fairy tales, unlikely sources of hope, open mysteries.

Very short -- impossible to summarize. Find it. Read it.
Eirik Gumeny
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read HOOPTY TIME MACHINES straight through, in two sittings, one half each time. This was a mistake. These stories are to be savored, I think, not read back-to-back-to-back-to-back. You need to read a handful at a time, digest them, force yourself to wait until the next evening before going back for more, like those fancy after-dinner mints. HOOPTY TIME MACHINES is Aesop's Fables for mathematicians and nihilists, beauty that can make you sick. ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
A dark, angsty twist on some classic fairy tales? Sign me up. I went to hear the author when this book came out last year and he was amazing. The stories are so short he must have gone through half a dozen in an hour but the way he stripped them down, leaving just the moral (or anti-moral) was wonderful.
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This collection is surprising and satisfying at every turn. As a bonus, it made me have really cool dreams.
Tracy Hudak
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Christopher DeWan is a writer and teacher living in New York. Learn more at ...more

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