Shorter of Breath: 8-Tracks. Aliens. Korea. Edmonton. And a chance to leave lame-o millennial culture for the ‘70s! (2017)

Leisure suits! Muscle cars! An annoyingly ethical alien! Social justice radicals! Time-traveling terrorist music critics! Just like Jane Austen used to write! Why couldn’t Alan be cool like people in the ‘70s? After breaking up with his girlfriend Sheila and unsatisfyingly teaching English in South Korea, he befriends an alien grad student, Coff, who lets him time-travel to swingin’ 1967 England to live out his retro-boogie fantasy. But now 70 years old in Edmonton, Canada, Alan takes a chance in meeting Sheila again to confess his past, causing problems in time that Coff will need more than Fleetwood Mac and fuzzy dice to fix. When time-flow conflicts result in them being harassed by university radicals and half-real fictional characters out to prevent Starship from recording “We built this city” in 1985, Alan, Coff, and Sheila must travel to a San Francisco disco in 1979 for a final showdown against the time-terrorists. Shorter of Breath is an enjoyable romp through expat life in Korea, retro ‘70s culture and music, and Canadiana. Just remember: Never insult donuts or Rush.

“Engaging and hilarious”

“A wild ride into the metaphysics of time and pop culture fondues... Great book from an era I remember so well...not to mention the aliens. Read and be amazed!”

“Excellent read! Well crafted, cleverly written, certain turns of phrase took me back to a different time (reminiscent of when I read Player One), others left me spitting out my coffee to laugh. Strongly recommend this novel.”

“I suggest you put on your flared jeans (preferably ones with a Canada flag in the flare), turn on some Pink Floyd for background music, fix yourself a bowl of Old Dutch ketchup chips and prepare to wash it down with a glass of Freshi (Kool-Aid is too pricey).”

“I was privileged enough to have read Ken Eckert’s new sci-fi comedy this past winter, and it certainly made January in Korea much more tolerable than it would otherwise be. Though the start seemed a tad slow, the pace really gets moving once our main character meets an alien and begins traveling through time. It’s a funny adventure and it comes highly recommended.”

Available in paperback (ISBN 978-1775023401) or e-book (ASIN B071GC7J3R)

Learning to Crawl: Ten Stories (2020)

A young teacher who feels he’s getting old. A time-traveling daughter’s sacrifice. The first humans on earth, and their discovery of death and free will. Fractured stories and time traveling bard-watchers. A disappointed rock guitarist and picky demons. A.I. problems in a post-work paradise! Naughty narrators and Newfies. A textual mystery. Did God err in giving my life the wrong choices? Ken Eckert’s Learning to Crawl is the followup to Shorter of Breath, and features ten stories ranging from light to dark humor, to reflections on the nature of free choice and God, spanning pre-historic man to a post-apocalyptic future.

Available in paperback (ISBN 978-1775023449) or e-book (ASIN B086WKNCZC)

Writing Academic Papers in English: Graduate and Postgraduate Level (2017, New 2021)

There are many books to help students write in English, but few deal with academic writing at the graduate or high-undergraduate level, and still fewer which address the particular needs of nonnative learners of English. This book explains to the graduate student or senior how to better plan, research, write, and edit an argument seminar paper, thesis/dissertation, or postgraduate scholarly publication in MLA, APA, or IEEE format. While it is tailored to English language learners and especially Koreans, the information here is meant to be helpful for any writer.

Available in paperback (ISBN 978-1775023425) or e-book (ASIN B074H7XSY1)

Middle English Romances in Translation (2015) (published by Sidestone Press, Leiden)

The popular romances of medieval England are fantasy stories of love at first sight; brave knights seeking adventure; evil stewards; passionate, lusty women; hand-to-hand combat; angry dragons; and miracles. They are not only fun but indicate a great deal about the ideals and values of the society they were written in. Yet the genre of Middle English romance has only recently begun to attain critical respectability, dismissed as vayn carpynge in its own age and generally treated by twentieth-century critics as a junk-food form of medieval literature. Chaucer’s Tale of Sir Thopas has been assumed to be a satire of the romances clichéd formulas and unskilled authors. But the romances evidently enjoyed popularity among all English classes, and the genre itself continued to flourish and evolve down to present-day novels and movies. A century ago, Beowulf faced the same problem that the Middle English romances still face: no modern translations were published because few had heard of the poem because there were no modern translations published. Where the romances have been printed, they have normally been reproduced as critical editions in their original language, or translated into heavily abridged children s versions, but few have been published as scholarly close line translations with notes. This book is an attempt to remedy this by making some of these romances available to the student or lay reader who lacks specialized knowledge of Middle English, with the hope that a clearer understanding of the poems will encourage not only enjoyment but also further study.

Available in paperback (ISBN 978-9088903397)

Learning to Crawl (2020) and Shorter of Breath (2017) are novels by Kenneth (Ken) Eckert, who is a native of Edmonton, Canada living in Korea. As an English professor most of his writing is on medieval and (post)modern literature, with a recently published book, Middle English Romances in Translation (Sidestone), and Writing Academic Papers in English: For Korean Writers. He is an alumnus of Memorial University in Newfoundland and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he studied Chaucer alongside creative writing students such as Alissa Nutting (Tampa) and Juan Martinez (Best Worst American).

Contact Ken Eckert or Moldy Rutabaga Books at Ken’s author site on Amazon or Goodreads or Facebook