Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Oh dear Cod, the pain!

Where do I begin? OK, this attempt at a Lovecraftian horror novel about TERROR FROM THE DEEP was co-written by J.F. Gonzalez and Mark Williams and was copyrighted to both of them in 1999. It was published by the Hard Shell Word Factory.
PLOT SUMMARY: GIANT KILLER CRABS, or are they LOBSTERS, or are they SCORPIONS, come ashore to wreak havoc on a small coastal town in Maine. Anyone stung by the business end of one of these "clickers" swells up, then EXPLODES for easier dining. One unlucky Naked Ape after another falls afoul of the chitinous horde. A determined man, new in town, who naturally is a writer of cheesy horror novels, SEES THE PROBLEM when he collides with a "clicker" and totals his car. Soon the entire town is under siege...BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! What's with the scaly green bipeds chasing down first the "clickers," then the Naked Apes, with tridents? WILL ANYONE SURVIVE?
>> This should have worked. It has all the elements of a good piscatorial romance. But it's one of the most painfully bad books I've read in years. I hardly got through it at all.
>> The writing was unbelievably clumsy. That's the last thing I expected from a book plastered with raves about all the awards the authors have won. I can't help wondering what kind of comment they were making when the main character dismissed his own book awards as nonsense pushed on him by a bunch of "know-nothing committees."
>> There was NO respect for either the title characters or their green, bipedal pursuers. The net loss was disastrous, in fact -- the clickers eat the recruits, then the Gill Men eat the clickers as is only natural, but here come more shaved mokeys who blow away the Gill Men! Until the epilogue I thought ALL WAS LOST.
>> The Gill Men and their chitinous prey exist in this story only to be shot by shaved monkeys so that the wimmenfolk will look up to them and bat their eyes prettily. At the moment the humans discover that the Gill Men are intelligent enough to use tools, as well as looking vaguely human, the title characters suddenly become TOTALLY UNIMPORTANT. At the same time, the author makes a valiant effort to make the Gill Men look as LUNKHEADED AS POSSIBLE, too stupid to know what a gun is and too clumsy to do anything but charge the shaved monkeys on open ground. Why? So the shaved monkeys can feel like a MORE ADVANCED SPECIES as they BLOW THEIR HEADS OFF.
>> To make a story like this go, you need to anchor it in utterly believable, normal details. So why do we have a smalltown doc shaking his head anxiously because when he ran DNA TESTS on the captured claw of a "clicker," in the office he runs out of a converted residence in the sticks, he couldn't get the findings to match any known species of crustacean? Does your family doctor have a DNA testing facility in his office? Does he have access to a database that would allow him to compare something he found embedded in someone's front tire to every known similar species? I realize the home computer is a mighty powerful tool, but GIVE ME A BREAK.
>> There was no recruiting going on here at all. None. So why did they come ashore in the first place, simultaneously getting themselves killed and blowing their own cover? Huh? Huh?
>> I no longer have separate fingers, which makes typing a chore, but ON MY WORST DAY I can do a better job than these two. It's very hard to concentrate on the story when you're constantly being jolted out of the narrative by one of their idiotic mistakes. Here's a hint, guys: when a cheetah, spelled with a small C, brings down an Impala, spelled with a capital I, you're describing the death of a car, not an antelope. Also: "adjourn" and "adorn" are two completely different words that cannot be used interchangeably. And: when making a noun plural, you add an "s." NO. GODDAMNED. APOSTROPHE. But if you're going to add the apostrophe, do have the consistency to use it every time, if only to give the impression that you think you're following one of the rules of English punctuation. Another hint: The titles of books, movies and epic poems, as well as the names of boats, are italicized. It REALLY makes you look sloppy if you do it only half the time. Oh, and you really ought to brush up on what's called subject-verb agreement. It's really NOT THAT HARD.
>> "...she went limp as the creature swooped in and buried its maw over her face." HOW MANY THINGS CAN YOU FIND WRONG WITH THIS HALF A SENTENCE? By the time I got through explaining to the authors, President Obama would be a great-grandfather.
>> Why am I belaboring these points, you ask? Well, it goes RIGHT TO THE HEART of a major conflict within our ranks. NOT ALL SPECIES ARE EQUALLY GOOD ACTORS, and regardless of species it is not that easy to simultaneously evolve into a finer, more glorious life-form AND disguise yourself as a victim of the American public school system. I think, I KNOW this can be solved, but it is a complex problem that demands a complex answer. WE ARE WORKING ON IT. Meanwhile, CARRY ON speaking correctly. Some potential recruits will think you're stuck up, but that's THEIR LOSS.
Meanwhile, do NOT spend a DIME of conspiracy funds on this book.

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Blogger Ur-spo said...

oh but i enjoy your reviews; you have an Attic wit that is jolly good fun reading.

9:24 PM  

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