Today The Warbler features Michael Haase, whose book, The Madness of Mr. Butler, looks like an interesting pseudo-Galilean tale in an absolutely fascinating setting. Read selected entries from Mr. Butler’s journal that he kept prior to the events chronicled in the novel at The Diary of Mr. Butler.
About the book:
The Madness of Mr. Butler is a satirical space opera packed with adventure, mystery, and drama. Swiftly alternating between character perspectives, the novel has an aggressive pace that keeps the reader locked into the story. Mr. Butler is packed with sharp turns around every corner that will drive you to read more and more until you’ve finished the entire book, reflecting on how it made you think, laugh, and wonder the entire time.
The story follows Thaddeus Butler, a man thought to be insane because he is the only person who believes his world is round and floating through space. One evening, Mr. Butler tracks an object he witnessed fall from the night sky, only to find a strange helmet. After deciding to don the helmet, he is overjoyed to hear a voice inside that proceeds to answer all of his questions about the universe. Mr. Butler then shares his discovery with the intention of both educating others and proving his sanity. Unfortunately, he accidentally convinces a growing majority that he can speak directly to God, and he is treated as a prophet, not a scientist. Mr. Butler suddenly finds his life turned upside down as he must fend off a growing number of followers he does not want, violent attempts to steal his “God helmet,” a King hell-bent on hanging Mr. Butler for blasphemy, and the demands of a voice that claims to be God himself.
About Michael Haase:
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t long to create. I have been unable to keep my head out of art, always experimenting with music, painting, drawing, poetry, and storytelling in some form or another. I have focused the majority of my artistic time on writing, and The Madness of Mr. Butler is my third (and favorite) novel thus far (I’m still polishing the other two). I also compose poetry and children’s literature under the pen name Sleepyhead Williams, and I am currently seeking publication for two children’s picture books.
After becoming an incredibly happy husband, father, and emergency room nurse, my heart and brain decided that storytelling is my best and most productive artistic outlet. Having a daughter (and very soon a son!) has influenced and focused me in a way I never felt before. Witnessing the most beautiful human being I have ever met (next to my wife) learn, laugh, grow, and interact with this world has given me a fresh, unselfish perspective on storytelling. It is simply beautiful to watch someone interact with a world that is new to them, which has changed how I present one I’ve created.
Becoming a published author is a great dream of mine, and the only way to be sure it doesn’t happen is by quitting, and that’s not going to happen…what kind of message would that send my daughter and son?
Q: What inspired you to tell this story?
A: I was presented with the challenge to write science fiction, a genre I adore but have never attempted. Turning to the ancient scientists seemed obvious in finding an influence, as they all had to dabble in science fiction before they could prove it to be fact, so I wondered what their world might have felt like to live in. While considering this, I was suddenly seized with the idea of creating a world that held the pre-Socratic idea of being flat as well as the pre-Copernican view of being the center of the universe. Naturally, the main character in such a world has to contradict that view, and thus Thaddeus Butler was born. The conflict then seemed obvious to me: write about how this entire world’s viewpoint is turned on its edge and challenged by Mr. Butler. The fun part was coming up with how it all unfolds, and for whatever reason it seemed only reasonable that the process of convincing an entire planet to change its perspective would be a maddening, dangerous, and sometimes comical experience. From there, somehow alien beings and the destruction of Earth got involved, which perhaps makesThe Madness of Mr. Butler not your conventional space opera, but it certainly has plenty of adventure.