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Fictoids is the perfect present to give anyone who has a major seizure upon hearing or reading a bad pun because Bill Dutcher will slay them. It is physically impossible to read this collection of fictional factoids without groaning every second page, moaning out loud every fourth page, and smiling most of the way through. This is a highly original, quite funny, particularly punishing read where Dutcher butchers the English language all in good fun.

Fictoids is one of those very rare self-published books that not only looks like it was released by a major publisher but definitely should have been released by a major publisher. This is a high-quality production through and through, from the dust jacket for this hardcover book, the quality of the paper, the typeface and layout, to the very Family Circle and sometimes New Yorker occasional illustrations by Jack Ziegler. All these production values support the very funny fake factoids hysterian Dutcher has come up with to cover the last two thousand years of what he thinks is human history.

Each Fictoids page consists of a sentence with no reprieve from bad bon mots, il-literate alliterations, and versions of history that will definitely make you giggle such as this one:

“Egyptian Pharaoh Amir Ziplok invented self-storage in 850 BC, then marketed his invention through a clever pyramid scheme.”

Not all of this book is a pure fictoid. Some are pretty close to reality such as:

“Sales of coasters plunged in gift shops all across the country in 1998, as millions of Americans began using ubiquitous AOL CDs instead.”

The one weakness with this collection of funny stuff is that Dutcher is not adverse to a comma splice or two (see the above quotes). A few more of Jack Ziegler’s illustrations would definitely have been a bonus but that is mere quibbling.

Fictoids is a fun little book. It is very original, looks great, and will probably make a great gift.