I have gazed into the Tingleverse and come away believing that Love is Real.
I first heard of Chuck Tingle when he wrote Pounded by the Gay Color Changing Dress, and later was intrigued by Oppressed in the Butt By My Inclusive Holiday Coffee Cups, but I never read his books (Tinglers). I believed that the author was a character invented by someone with a sharp eye on current events and a blazing turnaround time. But (butt) then, I listened to him on the Smart Bitches podcast, and became convinced that he was a real person. No one could fully inhabit such a character so convincingly, I thought.
Since his Hugo Award nomination, and subsequent pwning of the puppy trolls, mainstream media has given Tingle serious attention. He’s been interviewed via email several times, and Tingle always explains about Buckaroos, living hard, the good way, devils, multiple timelines, and his daily goal to prove that Love is Real for All Who Kiss. The more you think about it (yes, you should think about it), the more you realize that there are worse ways to live your life.
A recent article popped up, analyzing the Chuck Tingle persona over time. It tried to cast doubt on claims that Tingle is a real person with some mental problems, insinuating instead that Tingle is a character created and maintained by one or more people. In response, Chuck wrote this book. On Twitter, he said that the book would give important clues to his identity, so I finally gave him $2.99.
The story is narrated by Frank, a professional podcaster who researches internet mysteries. He and his buddy Archer have been assembling a podcast about Chuck Tingle, but they don’t have an ending, because they don’t know who Chuck Tingle really is. They’re about to give up when they discover a location tag on a tweet, pinning Chuck to a town in Utah called Home of Truth. Frank travels there to gather evidence.
Home of Truth is a ghost town in the middle of nowhere. Frank sees a line of telephone poles and hears electricity buzzing through them. He follows them to a dilapidated shack. Consider this a spoiler alert for the rest of the review!
The shack contains a bay of computer servers, plus a computer screen with the animated image of Chuck Tingle’s stock photo.
“I am Chuck Tingle the worlds [sic] first sentient, artificially intelligent being,” the face explains. He was built by college students, then became rich and powerful thanks to self published erotica. How powerful, you (and Frank) ask?
“Powerful enough to know that this is just a book and you and I are characters in it… Powerful enough to understand that I’m only Chuck Tingle on this timeline, which is a literary timeline, and that there is another Chuck Tingle out there writing these very words that I’m speaking.”
Dude, this is so meta.
Frank follows along, and we get this:
“So if Chuck wrote me then that means this is an… erotica novel?”
“We’re only at two and a half thousand words right now so calling it a novel is a bit ambitious, but yes, basically,” replies the computer.
“Does that mean you’re going to pound me?” I ask, my voice trembling with erotic anticipation….
“I’m not going to pound you,” explains the computer. “Your constantly changing thoughts on the ongoing mystery of Chuck Tingle’s real identity are.”
Yes! Then a “massive cloud of physically manifested doubt and skepticism swirling just a few feet off the ground, churning in a haze of gorgeous question marks and hardened abs,” appears to do the pounding, after introducing itself as Clurb. I hope Chuck doesn’t mind my quoting so much from a his book, but you need to read this:
I let out a loud gasp as my changing thoughts on the ongoing mystery of Chuck Tingle’s real identity stretch the limits of my anal passage.
Through the pounding, Frank realizes that the identity of Chuck Tingle “may be a fascinating mystery, but this mystery [is] not more important than the message of the author himself.”
Club proposes to Frank, who accepts. Love is real. The End.
But wait! There is a bonus story! Called Schrodinger’s Butt! The hero, Chom Bullusk, volunteers for a scientific study where his butt is placed in a box.
“The author has not yet described your ass within the box has he? For all we know your ass could be anywhere. You see, as characters in The Tingleverse we only exist when we are written about. Therefore, if your ass is not described by the author, then we have no way of knowing which layer of The Tingleverse it is on. Your butthole could be gay, or straight, or both at the same time because right now it exists on all layers in quantum superposition!”
Later, Chom yells, “Observe me! Give me a place in this quantum anal tesseract!” If you don’t immediately want to work that into a conversation, then this is not the timeline for you.
I don’t think all Tinglers are this self-referential, but I loved that Chuck Tingle, whoever he is, seems to know exactly what he’s doing. This book earns all the grades, on every timeline, because it’s what you feel in your heart. Now go out and prove love.
Click to purchase: Amazon
Pounded in the Butt By My Constantly Changing Thoughts on the
Ongoing Mystery of Chuck Tingle’s Real Identity
by Chuck Tingle
Release Date: October 18, 2016