Twelve-year-old Marius is on the run from the Government. He’s the only one in the whole nation that values his sense of humour. Everyone else was de-humoured at birth – well, most people were. Yet somehow with Marius there was a glitch.
He is captured on the run, but this time it’s not the soldiers. He has been taken by The Funnies – renegades who, like him, somehow escaped the ‘zappers’ at birth, but were betrayed by their loved ones. Marius meets their leader – Clown, plus Punchline, Slapstick, Stand-Up, Dummy (and his wooden owl, Too-Wit), Corny, Sick, Sarky, Mimic, Poo (yes, sorry) and Mime. He is entranced – kindred spirits – fellow laughers.
His loyalties are put to the test when The Funnies snatch his best friend Peter, humourless son of Mr. J, the Deputy Minister of Humour. Marius dreams of being able to make Peter laugh.
Could the de-humouring be reversible and if so, could he restore the humour of an entire population?
Paul A. Mendelson has created several hit BBC comedy series, including BAFTA-nominated May to December, So Haunt Me and My Hero, starring Ardal O’Hanlon. For ITV he wrote the much-acclaimed Martin Clunes drama Losing It. He co-created Neighbors From Hell for DreamWorks Animation and writes regularly for BBC Radio 4 Drama. He is currently developing a new comedy-drama series for television. Paul’s first novel In the Matter of Isabel has been bought by a major Hollywood producer. His first novel for children, Losing Arthur was published in 2017 and his second adult novel, A Meeting in Seville was published in 2018, and is based on his BBC Radio 4 play of the same name. The Art of Listening and other ‘inspired’ fictions is his most recent release and is a collection of intriguing and occasionally surreal novellas and shorter fiction.