Review of Ockham’s Razor by Alan Williams

Title: Ockham’s Razor

Author: Alan Michael Williams

Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (self-published)

Genre: Fiction (gay fiction)

Year Published: 2009

Number of Pages: 250

Binding: Paperback

ISBN10: 1439235279

ISBN13: 978-1439235270

Price: $12.99 print; $7.99 Kindle. Available at Amazon.com.

Reviewed by Jonathan Langford.

Note: I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the author.

Reviewing Ockham’s Razor is a bit odd for me. It’s a book about Micah, a gay kid in his early twenties who was raised a Mormon (though he claims not to be one anymore), and his on-again-off-again relationship with Brendan, a 17-year-old gay Mormon who isn’t sure if he wants to stay in the Church or not. It’s also about the mutual misunderstandings and awkwardness that are common in relationships of any kind at this age, and about Micah’s efforts to engage with mental models about life from a variety of sources, ranging from French philosopher Michel Foucault to Micah’s Mormon mother, to two nurses who work at the same detox center as Micah. And it’s about Brendan as well, though as readers we never really see him clearly: only the imperfect and poorly understood Brendan-construct, subject of endless hypothesizing on Micah’s part, that dwells in the older boy’s mind.

On a surface level, Ockham’s Razor seems in some ways like a mirror image to my own novel, No Going Back, also published in 2009 (maybe it was something in the water?) and also about a gay teenage Mormon kid, though the character in No Going Back is somewhat younger and never strays quite as far from the Church as either Brendan or Micah. In both novels, the Mormon Church and its teachings about homosexuality represent almost another major character in the story, influencing the actions and motivations of the other characters and representing at least a perceived alternative to self-acceptance as a homosexual. Despite some optimistic suggestions otherwise early in Ockham’s Razor and Paul’s initial attempts to balance his gay side and his Mormon side in No Going Back, ultimately in both cases choosing to be Mormon means choosing not to live as a homosexual. Continue reading “Review of Ockham’s Razor by Alan Williams”

Writing Mormon Literature for a non-Mormon Audience

Note: This started as an entry for my personal/book blog, which focuses primarily (so far) on No Going Back and its reception. However, I quickly realized that what I was writing was taking a far more theoretical/literary direction. So I decided to cross-post it here, with apologies if needed, on the theory that I’d love to get some response to the question I’m trying to ask about how to write Mormon literature for non-Mormon audiences. So have at it!

It’s always interesting seeing what non-Mormon readers of No Going Back have to say about the book. For one thing, it includes an awful lot of Mormon detail. Since I never imagined that it might have a large non-Mormon audience, I didn’t go to any trouble to explain that detail. No real accommodations for any readers who don’t happen to be Mormon.

Continue reading “Writing Mormon Literature for a non-Mormon Audience”

Producing Mormon Theater Outside Utah

It isn’t often that an LDS author creates an LDS-themed play that is performed outside of the few venues in Utah that are willing to occasionally perform Mormon works. I have the impression that the timeliness of the topic of the play has a lot to do with interest in performing these works, which makes me wonder, shouldn’t more Mormon playwrights confront topical issues? Or are they and I’m not aware enough?

Continue reading “Producing Mormon Theater Outside Utah”