Book Review: A Highly Unlikely Scenario by Rachel Cantor

A Highly Unlikely Scenario by Rachel CantorA Highly Unlikely Scenario: What it is about

The publisher says: “In the not-too-distant future, competing giant fast food factions rule the world. Leonard works for Neetsa Pizza, the Pythagorean pizza chain, in a lonely but highly surveilled home office, answering calls on his complaints hotline. It’s a boring job, but he likes it—there’s a set answer for every scenario, and he never has to leave the house. Except then he starts getting calls from Marco, who claims to be a thirteenth-century explorer just returned from Cathay. And what do you say to a caller like that? Plus, Neetsa Pizza doesn’t like it when you go off script.

Meanwhile, Leonard’s sister keeps disappearing on secret missions with her “book club,” leaving him to take care of his nephew, which means Leonard has to go outside. And outside is where the trouble starts.

A dazzling debut novel wherein medieval Kabbalists, rare book librarians, and Latter-Day Baconians skirmish for control over secret mystical knowledge, and one Neetsa Pizza employee discovers that you can’t save the world with pizza coupons.

A Highly Unlikely Scenario: What I thought

The subtitle of this novel is great fun: Or, A Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World. The story itself? I found it rather weird, but in an attractive way.

The idea is fun: a pizza company complaints officer accidentally gets a call from a 13th Century explorer. After the first struggles about going off-script, they start having interesting conversations (well, interesting for them, I was rather confused) and eventually, Leonard is persuaded to leave his safe place and go out in the world… to the library, of all things!

There is time travel involved (yay!) and I loved that part of the book. I wasn’t too sure about all the different groups of people, with their philosophies. Was I supposed to look up what these people really stood for, or was it just a bit of name-dropping, a bit of fun? Maybe a bit of both.

It was a highly amusing story although I’m still not quite sure what it was about. It’s one of those books you are not likely to forget soon, because it’s so different.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 250

First published: 2013

I got this: from the publishers, Melville House, via my Dutch rep

Genre: science fiction

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

8 Responses to Book Review: A Highly Unlikely Scenario by Rachel Cantor

  1. Isi says:

    Sounds very funny, Judith. I would never have put my eyes on this book for the title. And I love time travel too! 😀

  2. Weird can be good! This sounds interesting, and would never have thought there was time travel involved based on the cover or the title! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hmmm, this one sounds intriguing. I noticed you marked it as a ‘science fiction’ for the genre. Is it really far out there? Sometimes I have a hard time staying focused on a sci-fi book if there’s too many dimensions / storylines going on. Great review 🙂

  4. Leslie says:

    I hadn’t heard of this book. I like weird stories but a lot depends on the authors writing style. I didn’t like How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and from the description it should have been a hit for me. But of course I’m curious now and will give this one a try. You got me with the time travel. 🙂

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