Martin Manning hasn’t left his apartment or had contact with another human being in thirty years. He’s happy eating his sandwiches, wearing his bathrobe, and watching TV. Martin is going to go on like this forever, alone, the proverbial immovable object.
Along comes Caseworker Alice Pitney, knocking on doors without apology. She’s an irresistible force starting a self-improvement program in Martin’s building, and won’t take no for an answer. If it takes a trial of absurd proportions and a ludicrous treatment program to make Martin into the man he could be and should have been, that’s just fine with Pitney.
Can Martin Manning stand up to Pitney, her thugs, Judge Sarnauer, and a host of others hell-bent on telling him what to do? He can. But to win this epic battle of wills, he’ll need to call on a lifetime of stubbornness and downright meanness, a patience rarely seen, and more than a little luck.
Mean Martin Manning sets its satirical sights on nanny state busybodies, sensitivity training, television talk shows, haircut licenses, aggressive doctors, bloviating academics, demanding judges, and little tyrants everywhere.
But not all is cynicism and bile. There’s also ample adoration for the joyous wonders of linoleum, preservatives, cold cuts, mayonnaise, frog figurines, bowel regularity, freedom, and sweet, sweet justice.
From reviews of Mean Martin Manning
“There are few really good hardcore libertarian novels. This is one of them. Remember, I said hardcore. And good. Good doesn’t mean I agree with the message. Good doesn’t mean I like the hero. Good doesn’t mean This is an agreeable fantasy. Good means a lot more than that, and Mean Martin Manning is good. It’s smart and it’s funny. It’s exactly as long as it ought to be. Its images, ideas, settings, and characters will linger in your memory far beyond this summer.” — Stephen Cox, editor of Liberty magazine, 2007 summer book picks
“A funny, entertaining story that happens to have political themes, as opposed to a heavy-handed ideological lesson that tries to be entertaining.” — Jacob Sullum, Reason magazine
“If Franz Kafka were funny, if, while down at his local pub in Prague, he had fired off one witty, sarcastic rejoinder after another about the absurdity of the world, then he would have written a novel like Scott Stein’s Mean Martin Manning … Manning narrates his story as a first-rate smart-ass, taking aim at a society that shoves health and happiness down its citizens’ throats … [a] gem of a book … The scary part of it all is that Stein’s novel is no dystopian vision of a distant future. The time is now. Guard your salami and mayonnaise. Mean Martin Manning for President!” — Edward Pettit in the Philadelphia City Paper