About, Press, Reviews & Contact


I’m Ryan Oakley.

I’m the author of the Aurora and The Sunburst Award shortlisted Technicolor Ultra Mall.  I’ve been keeping this blog, The Grumpy Owl, for years. It covers culture, tech, style, politics and, basically, whatever I feel like jotting down.

The Grumpy Owl is a public scrap and notebook. Also, just so we’re clear, The Grumpy Owl is the name of my blog. It is not my name.

If you wish to contact me, you can do so at  ryan dot oakley at gmail dot com. I try to respond but I am busy. If you’re pushing a guest post, I wouldn’t bother.

If you want to talk shop, make business, inquire about rights and all that sorta thing, I haz people for that. Direct your queries to Charlie Olsen at InkWell Management (charlie (at) inkwellmanagement (dot) com).

Now, on to what other people have said . . .

Reviews of Technicolor Ultra Mall

“Ryan Oakley kicks all kinds of butt. This is the story Philip K. Dick would have written if he’d lived to today: over-the-top, incisively satirical, and packing a major wallop. The prose sings even as the story makes you squirm; underneath all the slickness and sickness there’s a passionate human heart, beating so damn fast it warps space. Oakley is a supernova about to blow – a major new talent ready to burst on the scene – and with this, his first novel, he’ll light up the entire sky.”

– Robert J. Sawyer
Hugo Award-winning author of HOMINDS
Nebula Award-winning author of THE TERMINAL EXPERIMENT

“Reading Ryan Oakley’s writing is like being lit-jacked. Once Oakley’s forty-five caliber prose is aimed between your eyes, you’ll never forget it.”

Minister Faust
Phillip K. Dick Prize Shortlisted author of THE COYOTE KINGS OF THE SPACE-AGE BACHELOR PAD
The Carl Brandon Society Kindred Award, Special Citation (Runner Up) Phillip K. Dick Award author of FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF DR. BRAIN

“Oakley isn’t so much concerned with what science fiction has been, but rather where it can go. And, unlike most of his contemporaries, he doesn’t just write from his head, but from his gut. His work somehow manages to be both unsettling and deeply absorbing.”

Jeff Lemire
Eisner-nominated Graphic novelist of the ESSEX COUNTY TRILOGY,
SWEET TOOTH from Vertigo.
THE ATOM and the upcoming SUPERBOY series for DC Comics

“Be prepared for gang violence, the objectification of women, swearing, sexual scenes and language, torture, dismemberment, drug usage, adverts, and Santa’s name being used as a curse word.  Anyways, consider yourself warned, and enjoy the show.”

Zannova in Ink

“The consumerist mall-as-dystopia is not a wholly original idea, but I can’t remember ever encountering one so unflinchingly brutal as Technicolor Ultra Mall. From the opening blaze of profanity-peppered violence to the bleak cataclysm of its conclusion, Oakley never eases the pressure, tearing aside the glossy veils of commerce to reveal the cynical profiteering beneath. This book is yet another data point for the adage about science fiction novels being about the time in which they are written more than the time in which they are set, and as the global economy goes from bad to worse it’s only going to look more timely. We already live in Oakley’s mall, sealed off from the over-polluted outside world like the arcologies of the classic satirical RPG Paranoia, everything we see or hear or feel mediated by businesses interests, our politics a polarised red vs. blue puppet show that distracts us from the real game being played by the high rollers, our lingering primate instincts and tribal urges leveraged in order to maintain and prop up a profitable hierarchy.”


“Do not go into Technicolor Ultra Mall expecting a pleasure read. Oh, sure, you’re going to be hooked and will be entertained and all those things you want from a good book, but some part of you is going to come away feeling battered and bloodstained. “


“There were times when this one reminded me of Mallworld by Somtow Sucharitkul from way back when, crossed with a bit ofMax Headroom. The setting is indeed a giant mall which has become a city unto itself, in fact almost a civilization unto itself. Against this backdrop we have several individual stories that aren’t entirely unrelated but the plot is almost incidental.  The book is about the mall and the way people interact in an enclosed environment. The language is fresh, inventive, and fast moving. One of the blurbs compares Oakley to Philip K. Dick but I would have said K.W. Jeter. There are hints of bizarre humor, and it’s obviously in part a satire, but it’s also deadly serious. This is one of those books that are worth some extra effort to track them down.”

-Don D’Ammassa, Critical Mass 

“If you like your fiction efficient, with a lot of violence and a little transcendence mixed in with the bleakness, this is the book for you.”

-Innsmouth Free Press

“Beneath the violence of Technicolor are interesting, realistic, and sometimes exaggerated characters facing extreme conditions, on both the red and green levels. Communication is mediated by antisocial codes and television, but the characters manage to relate when they want to and when they try. They are still human, by turns repulsive and sympathetic, obnoxious and innocent. Without these conflicted characters, the violence they commit might be too much—too hard to take, too pointless, too blunt. Oakley makes it work and, as a result, the book is a strong first effort.”

Adam Gorley of The New Dilettantes.

“Technicolor Ultra Mall is Heath Ledger’s Joker crossed with Fox News and Snow Crash; it is the ultimate exaggeration shot through with flashes and ribbons of what if….

“The writing is hellish, brilliant, stellar and profane.”

The Nameless Zine

” . . . a dystopian tour de force that will baffle and incite you in a spiral of emotions.”

 Space Squid

“This ultra-sharp, darkly satiric, hyper-speed novel is set in a world where multi-level mega malls serves as city states and everything on the outside lies in ruin. On the lower red levels, gang violence and media saturation and bio-tech designer drugs rule. During the weekend, slummers from the green levels leave their safe lives of jobs and families to partake in risky, sometimes deadly, fun on the red levels. And on every level, TV and advertisements literally penetrate the mind. Death is easy and life cheap, until that life is your own or your beloveds. Extreme stylization, great characters, and a high-level of intensity is maintained throughout. This is a whip-smart, truly violent novel that has at its core a still very human pulsing heart.”

The Sunburst Award Jury

“I don’t want to call Ryan Oakley’s 2012 Aurora nominee A Clockwork Orange 2.0. There are so many other ways to describe it: it’s raw and bloody; beautiful and horrific; staccato like a machine-gun; and as fresh as it is familiar. His homage to Burgess’s 1962 classic could hardly be more faithful, yet it stands alone, quintessentially a product of now, though with a degree of the timelessness which cemented that earlier novel as a classic.”

AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review

“Come for the ultraviolence, stay for the science-fictional mind-juice. This is a masterfully written must-read for anyone trying to understand just how this world of ours could all go horribly wrong(er).”

Coilhouse: Magazine and Blog

 Etceteras  . . .

“21st century Beau Brummel.”

Toronto Life Style Guide: The city’s definitive best dressed list: Toronto’s 12 Most Stylish people

“He was a pinstriped vision, carefully treading the line between aristocrat and pimp . . . There was a certain je ne sais quoi… An air of “that’s right, bitches” about him that I found entirely justified.”

Coilhouse Style Vanguard

The Great Shoe Debate: Ryan Oakley, sartorialist and author of Technicolor Ultra Mall, is shoes on: From the National Post

The Proust Questionnaire with Ryan Oakley: Open Book Toronto

Ryan Oakley Recommends Yellow, Blue, Tibia by Adam Roberts: Advent Book Blog

Earth Day 2012: 15 sci-fi writers tackle climate change: The Toronto Star

Author Interview, Ryan Oakley: Sci-Fi Fan Letter

Occupy Movement and Gangs of the Future: Brent Holland Night Fright Show


1 comment

  1. Dr. Rafael Miguel Montes

    So nice to find a place online where I can actually contact you. My name is Rafael Miguel Montes and I am a Cultural Studies professor at St. Thomas University and the chair of the department of English. I wanted to praise you lavishly for your novel, Technicolor Ultra Mall, a book that really is one of those groundbreaking and gut-wrenching experiences that truly feels like I am in the presence of a visionary. For the last few months, I google your name every couple of weeks to see if anything new has been published. An excerpt, a short story, a shopping list. Anything. Although there does not seem anything currently available, I feel that your novel is too good to just be in my own personal library. I am very thankful to you for having written the cornerstone text for my next summer’s literature seminar on Dystopian Narrative. I know that it only means that 25 college juniors and seniors will be buying your book, but it is my little bit of thank you for moving me and making me certain that there is a great deal of incendiary talent out there if one bothers to search for it.

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