“Free Ralph! is a delightful, provocative and profoundly entertaining plunge into the alternate reality of inter-species communication. I loved it. Free Ralph! just might free you.”
Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Key to Solomon's Key, The Accidental Christ and other books
"I've often wondered if humans were doomed to a dead end branch of the evolutionary tree, considering our reckless treatment of our planet and everything on it . . . It's time we did learn a thing or two from the animals with whom we share this planet; they are certainly wiser in many ways – as shown by Ralph and his comrades in this humorous novel. This book has all the elements of a good story, combined with a great cause that does not hinder the plot with "preachiness"! A keen mastery of written prose and of human psychology shines in this visionary tale recounted by Stephen Wing. This story is witty, fun, and meaningful. Hail to Ralph!"
Neil Shulman MD (a.k.a. the Real Doc Hollywood), Associate Professor, Emory University School of Medicine, author & associate producer of the 1991 Warner Brothers movie Doc Hollywood
"Free Ralph! An Evolutionary Fable is deftly written and highly recommended for community library collections and for anyone who wants a good laugh that will make them think at the same time."
Midwest Book Review, "The Humor Shelf"
“We rely on fiction to take us away from the mundane and ordinary and to bring a new spin to the way we see things, and sometimes an extraordinary work of fiction goes above and beyond all that – it changes the way we live our lives. Free Ralph!, by local author Stephen Wing, is just such a book. . . . Through the eyes of a circus chimp named Ralph, and the family in Africa that misses him, the reader sees what no human can see: the effects of tampering with the natural order through its victim’s eyes. . . . Free Ralph! is filled with fresh writing that is easy to enjoy and is perfect for summer reading.”
Todd Coleman, review in Co-Options, July/Aug. 2008
“Your book is a gift, a very real one. It touches people's hearts. That's a good thing.”
Sherri McLendon, schoolteacher
“Wing’s moving story about Ralph expresses sophisticated environmental concepts with a light, experienced touch and showcases the delightful possibility of rediscovering our human relationship with nature.“
Glenn Carroll, artist & activist, winner of the 2007 Jane Bagley Lehman Award from the Tides Foundation
“I thoroughly enjoyed your delightful adventure novel/fable – your poetic touch shining through in the chimps' philosophical musings. The suggestion that they still inhabit the Garden of Eden rings true. Unforgettable . . . My taste for slapstick humor was even sated as the chimp and human worlds collide, eventually meshing to the betterment of both.”
Todd Russell, RN, nurse
“I'm truly impressed. The book did what only a well-written, engrossing book can do. It disappeared. I became totally engrossed in the story. I didn't edit even once. It also has passed my other test of a good book. I wake up with lines from it in my head, and random scenes continue to pop up during the day . . . I'm looking forward to further adventures!”
Patricia Logos, small business consultant & freelance editor
“If civilization ended tomorrow, and a thousand years from now new people found this planet, the one book they should find is Free Ralph! . . . The message was incredibly powerful . . . Can’t wait to read more of your works. Thank you so much for contributing to global consciousness in a positive and provoking way.”
Irene B. Reece, ND, LMT, naturopathic doctor
“My son and I just finished reading Free Ralph! What a great book. Your writing style is surprisingly easy to follow and kept the reader interested and curious throughout the book. . . . I am recommending the book to several friends who have high school children interested in our ongoing evolution. Thank you for so eloquently putting into words a message the world is desperate to listen to and ready to hear.”
Kay Citron, RN, mother of four (Parental advisory: Please read this book yourself before sharing it with minors!)
“I love your book! Great, loveable characters, excellent story lines, building suspense, thoughtful new look at evolution. I'm totally impressed with your skill and how well you crafted your story.”
Andy Bernay-Roman, psychotherapist, author of Deep Feeling, Deep Healing
“Free Ralph! is a beautiful, well written novel, filled with fundamental truth. I loved it and am looking forward to the sequel.”
Tammy Linton, stagehand & writer
“I love Free Ralph! – staying up past my bedtime to finish it, which is most unusual for me and a tribute to you for creating a really delightful, fresh, entertaining, and yet very thought-provoking book. . . . I go through many, many books as it is my preference over TV, movies, etc., so when I say that I became emotionally and philosophically titillated by the story and impressed by how smoothly you wove it, be assured it is from some experience.”
Sharon Williams, teacher
“An excellent story which I thoroughly enjoyed. The author is adept at weaving several seemingly disparate narratives together in support of what is, in my opinion, the central message of the book – that we are all, humans, non-humans and in-humans, connected through the original world wide web, that of the biosphere itself!”
Bill Fleming, guitarist & geography teacher
"Free Ralph! kept me interested and wanting to know what was going to happen. I loved the characters and your way of meshing the story with ideas about evolution and interspecies connection."
Lorraine Fontana, paralegal
"All literature is about the struggle for good over evil, light over darkness, and Free Ralph! with its good humor, adventurous characters and unusual plot twists takes that struggle to new heights. Whether you are a science fiction fan, a fan of comedy, or just like closely plotted stories, you will find Free Ralph! engaging.”
David Fasano, ex-English teacher & financial aid counselor
“Free Ralph! moves smoothly and develops dramatic tension well . . . A touching and deep story with profound implications about how we live our lives here on this Earth."
David Wheeler, writer & environmentalist
"It's the best book I've read in years! Good stuff! Can't wait for the movie version . . ."
Arjay Sutton, itinerant folksinger
“What a delightful and deftly written tale!”
Ray Barnes, cartoonist & web designer
Tanzar of the Chimpanzees
has returned from the jungle with
a message from our hairy cousins:
Human evolution isn’t finished yet,
and it’s time for our next step!
Ages ago, deep in the African jungle, our human ancestors split off from the bloodline that would evolve into our cousin the chimpanzee. Ever since, homo sapiens has been busy evolving an intelligence and culture far superior to those of our wild relatives.
Or have we?
In this gently humorous, thought-provoking novel, as the ecological impact of human “intelligence and culture” grows increasingly clear, the evolutionary paths of chimps and humans are about to converge once more, millions of years after we parted ways!
is a circus chimp, kidnapped in infancy from his family in Central Africa, who now performs on the trapeze under the stage name “Ralph” . . .
is an American janitor, fulfilling his lifelong dream of an African safari, who gets lost in the jungle one night and rescued by a family of chimps . . .
. . . who happen to be Kumbu’s relatives. When the chimpanzees discover that through a rare evolutionary mutation Wilbur bears “The Gift” – the ability to communicate telepathically, as they do – they commission him to rescue Kumbu from the circus, and the evolution of both species takes a quantum jump forward.
Evolution may never be the same!
printed on recycled paper
Order with PayPal or any major credit card via the link below, or by mail from
Wind Eagle Press
P.O. Box 5379
Atlanta GA 31107
(If ordering in Georgia, please add $1.05 sales tax)
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Appendix (live links):
How to Help the Chimpanzees
Essays by Stephen Wing
on the theme of evolution:
"Going Green" Goes Mainstream In the Nick of Time
Can We Measure Consciousness? Yes We Can!
The Clues to Evolving Consciousness Are Everywhere
– If We Pay Attention
Only a Fish out of Water Can Learn to Walk
"There's Always a Next Step"
– The New & Improved Law of Evolution
Only One Person Can Save the World . . . And It's Not Barack Obama!
"Small Changes Add Up" – The New & Improved Law of Evolution
Wanted: The Perfect Rationalization
Philosopher Seeks Plausible Excuse for Planetary Waste & Destruction
Out of Sight, Out of Mind, and Good Riddance!
Life on a Disposable Planet
"Here's a book you'll want to tell your friends about, just to see the delight on their faces. Stephen Wing has written a comic epic in the tradition of Cervantes and Kurt Vonnegut . . . An utterly convincing philosophy of evolutionary ecology is the deepest layer of this profound and hilarious book."
Taylor Stoehr, professor of literature, University of Massachusetts, poet, translator, literary executor for Paul Goodman, author of Decentralizing Power: Paul Goodman’s Social Commentary and other books
"Free Ralph! is an expertly crafted novel. Like practiced trapeze artists, the subplots soar towards one another across a seemingly unbridgeable chasm; there is a moment of breathless suspense before their fingers wrap securely around one another's wrists. The innocent, excitable chimp protagonist is the most lovable fictional character I can think of. I could hardly put the book down, except to laugh at its jokes."
Jed Brody, lecturer in physics, Emory University
"[This] delightful novel . . . tickles as it imparts deep truths and wisdom."
Alim Thompson, CEO, New Leaf Distributing Co.
“Free Ralph! was one of the juiciest reads I've come across . . . I wasn't prepared for a read that would grab me by the jugular and haunt me through and through. It was a book I literally couldn't put down, causing me to read while brushing teeth, flipping pancakes for Myles, sitting in my car at stoplights, stealing every possible spare moment to snatch a few more words. In my adult life, I've never been particularly drawn to plots about animal characters, but your book was different. One of my barometers of a good book is whether the characters become real to me, as if forever afterwards they are like old friends who I wish I could catch up with again. Kumbu and Wilbur and their tribe in the trees have continued to walk with me everywhere – they will always be with me . . . With great sincerity, thank you for channeling this book into reality.”
Zoe Haugo, videographer & writer
"This fable reminds us that all species are connected, and what happens to one inevitably affects the others. Wing explores the concept of conscious evolution, the notion that with all the power humans possess over the planet, we must take care to treat it and other species ethically."
“Get ready for a sweet ride on Stephen Wing’s Free Ralph! This story reads like a fairy tale for grown-ups, rich with both innocence and artfully presented truths. It’s a nourishing read.”
Gay Arnieri, editor, Lake Claire Clarion
“At the end of the book, suggestions about 'How to Help the Chimpanzees' include a list of some good web sites to visit. I recommend this book to all readers, especially those who love nature and animals. This is the kind of book that you will want to read more than once.”
Marie-Claire Wilson, review in Oracle 20/20, Dec. 2008
"There is a great passage in Free Ralph! in which the Ape Sage, Guma, adroitly addresses God, evolution, and theodicy. In three pages, he covers all the important issues of philosophy. Guma outlines the serious content of your book without descending into boring professional monologue. Even when the book is at its funniest, it somehow retains its serious-as-hell core. Not an easy circus act to follow!"
Bob Darby, freelance writer & activist for the homeless
“I enjoyed the dark humor of this contemporary re-telling of the Tarzan legend. The juxtaposition of mindsets between human and ape was sensitive and believable. I’m ready for the sequel! In ‘freeing Ralph’ we ultimately are freeing ourselves.”
Teri Stewart, retail store owner
"Good work, sir: it's smart, funny, and moving, and you manage the rather difficult business of juggling the different characters, plots, and settings so that the reader enjoys variety without confusion."
Joel Brattin, professor of English, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, scholar of Dickens and Hendrix
“If you like plots that twist and turn, and novels that mix realistic fantasy with fantastical reality, then get a copy of Free Ralph! I have read a lot of novels, and this one is certainly unique; I could hardly put it down. . . . There's a band of kind-hearted chimpanzees who save a lost human, and a band of kind-hearted humans who save a stolen chimpanzee. There's love and redemption – and the Gift of interspecies communication . . . Without being preachy – and with a good deal of fun – Wing weaves in philosophical thoughts about the rights of all creatures to live in harmony and the sad fate that awaits our planet if we never learn this lesson.”
Lynn A. Manfredi-Petitt, co-author of Circle of Love and Relationships: The Heart of Quality Care
“I wanted you to know how much I loved reading Free Ralph! Everything about the book evidences both your spirit and your craft. The story is charming . . . the characters are believable, the writing flows, and the resolution leaves the reader (me) wanting to hear more. Your writing, always clear, has indeed matured into a style that is universally enjoyable.”
Geri Taran, founder & former director, Georgia Writers Association
"Free Ralph! deftly weaves multiple story lines which culminate in an exciting, satisfying end. One of the sweet surprises of the book is the unfolding of an unexpected mother/daughter tale in all its richness and complexities. As the daughter of a mother whom I am nothing at all like and whom I am everything like, I had special appreciation for this. Part of the wisdom and wholistic viewpoint of the story is that this contradiction is seen in its most positive and hopeful light."
Louise Runyon, poet and dancer, author of Landscape / Fear & Love
“Free Ralph! asks us adults to indulge what every child knows: there is a simple and authentic wisdom in animals that we all could learn from. With childlike pleasure I turned each page and didn’t want the book to end. I salute Wing for opening such a creative angle and look forward to the sequel and the movie. Great work!”
Melanie Carlone, MPT, physical therapist
“An adventure in which fresh ideas about evolution, family, belief and responsibility seem to affect each other as well as the characters. As fate, faith, family, and loyalty entwine and tug at each other, the lives of all involved take turns they could have never imagined, and we are all drawn towards a world of new possibilities. I look forward to the further adventures of Ralph and his friends!”
Tom Yelle, flower processor & driver