Saturday, July 10, 2010


Well, what can I say about this one? This is a Young Adults type of paperback intended to ring a few changes on the story of The Little Mermaid. Debbie Viguie wrote it; I gather she specializes in retelling fairly tales. The copyright date is 2003 and the publisher of my edition is Simon Pulse.


>> The story has a pleasant Green Child feeling to it that makes the story just... about... bearable. But that was almost the only bearable thing about this novel.

>> The author clearly has NO FEELING for the lives we lead underwater. As near as I can tell, she sees NO DIFFERENCE between human and piscatorial love AT ALL. The life of a Mermaid -- as if we were still making them at this late date! -- seems in this book to be identical to that of any teenaged human. PERISH FORBID!

>> The story seems to be set "long ago and far away," in the seaside kingdom of Aster. But the author keeps lapsing into last week's American slang. The characters also behave in modern American ways, for instance the fact that not one, but two members of Aster's aristocracy, one of them bound to sit on the throne someday, are planning to marry pretty commoners who are CLEARLY NOT QUITE HUMAN, with the cheerful blessings of their fathers. In fact, I was struck by the way all the parents in this story take a modern, American "do whatever makes you happy, honey" type of approach to childrearing. It makes it 100% impossible to believe as you read along.

>> I kept wanting to say "Get real!" as I read this one. If greenish, translucent naked people kept washing up on the beach in any "long ago and far away" place on MY home planet, they would have been stoned to death or burned as witches, not married off to princes. In fact, it would probably happen pretty much the same way if they started washing up this week, although I assume they would be interrogated and dissected before disposal. Come on! If it were THAT easy, we wouldn't need to hide ourselves in the first place.

>> Listen up, Debbie: Mermaids have NO interest in marrying men on land. They draw them into the sea like Lemmings -- NOT the other way around. The operatives who marry men on land do it to produce more landfish who can eventually join us in the deep. The men are welcome to join us there, too, but if they resist or blow our cover, they will be KILLED and EATEN.

>> This story stands to profoundly confuse young girls who may already be in the process of transformation. And you know how gullible even partially-transformed Naked Apes can be when they read anything that's been published. They tend to treat it as factual, authoritative, binding, NO MATTER HOW BIZARRELY WRONG IT IS. Think of the characters in all those movies and stories -- 'Salem's Lot is a good example -- seriously discussing how to kill vampires based on the comic books they've read. Real life is no different among the Shaved Monkeys; I see it all the time. I used to think that way myself when I was a fully-human travel agent. I blush to remember it now. Except I can no longer blush.

>> Viguie's take on the story guts the whole meaning of The Little Mermaid, as it applies to the fish reader. There are close calls, but no killings. Everyone who is captured escapes in time. The evil spells laid by the Sea Witch are easy to fix. And the ending is happy. Everyone pairs off with his or her One True Love. NOBODY GETS EATEN. Why not put a diagonal banner across the front cover, saying "Sanitized For Your Protection"? Here's a news flash, Debbie: YOU CAN'T WRITE A WAR STORY WITHOUT KILLING OFF A FEW SOLDIERS. I know, I know, humans are clueless about what it is really about when they fall in love with a fish.

>> One piece of this story is a JUST PLAIN OFFENSIVE. Faye, one of the greenish, translucent women who washes ashore, not only FALLS IN LOVE WITH A HUMAN (spare me) but at one point makes some sort of plea to a Higher Power to change her into what she really is -- human. And the wish is granted! I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA PUKE.

>> And Pearl, our protagonist? Her, I wanted to strangle. ALL our operatives come ashore with a clear, burning, core purpose AND NOTHING CAN TURN US AWAY FROM THAT. That would not be an accurate description of little Pearl, who's buffeted hither and yon by every new development and every male biped who bats his eyes at her and tell her he loves her. All she does, for 197 pages, is kind of hope things will come out okay. GET A GRIP, KID. SERIOUSLY.

>> Ultimately, though, this story left no taste in my mouth. Why? Because there was NO PISCATORIAL LOVE IN IT. None of the fish characters were remotely like the real thing -- they don't even EAT fish, for crying out loud. The Sea Witch wasn't scary. The underwater world wasn't even described. There was no longing to go home to the sea. There was no dread of life up on dry land. IT DIDN'T HURT THE MERMAIDS TO WALK! There was no dramatic tension.

Obviously, I can't recommend this one any more than I can recommend Jaws. Why deliberately spread wrong ideas? And let me note right here on the Internet that I WILL NOT TOLERATE the use of this sort of reading material as disinformation to conceal our true motives. The destructive potential JUST ISN'T WORTH IT.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Have A Nice Planked Fish Dinner Tonight!

This photo demonstrates the old-fashioned method of PLANKING FISH for dinner -- you split 'em open, nail 'em to a board and chunk the board into the sand in front of a fire. You eat the results when the victim your friendly recruiter flakes readily with a fork. PRETTY SIMPLE, EH?

Here in Michigan we favor planked Whitefish a la duchesse, but other states have large groups partial to Shad. Either taste is very sound, in my opinion. The method has sadly deteriorated over time and you are now supposed to use an oven, not a fire, and there are no nails involved. They also like to GLOP UP THE ENTREE these days with all manner of mango chutneys and la de da. Of course the a la duchesse has now gone more or less dehors la fenetre because of that wretched Atkins Diet and everyone thinking potatoes are a form of DEADLY NERVE GAS. You may be forced to make do with asparagus instead.


(If I may get off on a religious tangent here for just a tenth of a second:)


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Says here...

ABOVE: Mantis Shrimp feeling existential angst lift under the influence of dissolved sertraline.

...It says here that a scientist type guy at the University of Portsmouth's Institute of Marine Sciences (chuckle) has discovered that the UNCOUNTABLE GALLONS OF ANTIDEPRESSANT-SMELLING PEE dumped into the oceans is affecting the behavior of Shrimp. It finally dawned on a Naked Ape that Shrimp have serotonin levels, too. I'm sure this makes them all feel very proud of themselves.

They've only uncovered the first and most obvious effect of feeding Prozac to Shrimp: it makes them, QUITE LITERALLY, "go into the light" where they can more easily be KILLED and EATEN. They have not even begun to explore the other effects -- on the Shrimp themselves, on the creatures that eat them, on the creatures that eat those creatures.


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I Just Thought We Needed...

...a break from all the Sharks, already. FEEL BETTER?

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This slender opus by Peter Benchley is copyrighted 2005 to the author and was published by Yearling Press in 2007. As usual with this guy's books, he's managed to REALLY TICK ME OFF.


>> Once again, the guy whose crap novel launched a thousand piscatorial slaughters -- from the poop decks of a thousand rich-kid yachts -- is trying to MAKE IT RIGHT by writing another book full of worshipful Shark stories. DOESN'T HE KNOW THE DAMAGE IS ALREADY DONE?

>> What ticks me off even more is that HE REALLY SUCCEEDS PRETTY WELL with this book. He's respectful to our Shark operatives, tells us about one cool adventure after another people have had with them, and can tell a Bronze Whaler from a Gray Nurse.

>> He rails against Shark slaughter, especially the grotesque practice of harvesting fins for soup. Remember, THIS IS THE SAME GUY WHO WROTE JAWS.

>> The book is full of good advice -- how not to get caught in an undertow, how to respond if you see a large predator in the water, which Sharks pose the biggest threat to Naked Apes, why you should swim only in groups, that sort of thing. This cheered me up a good deal as I read. JUST TRY AND SAVE YOURSELVES. FOOLS! WE'LL COME FOR YOU WHEN WE'RE READY.

Well, this is great stuff for luring human children into a more piscatorial life, anyway. I bought my copy used, online, and it arrived smelling powerfully of the cedar shavings used to line Hamster cages. I think that tells me a bit about the previous owner.

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Oh, Bullsharks! -- The Sequel

WELL, I HAVE TO SAY I'M IMPRESSED. Less than 2 weeks after having everyone discuss Fernicola's Twelve Days Of Terror in the book-club groups, YOU STARTED NOTICING THE CLUES FERNICOLA MISSED:

>> The heroic Matawan Creek victim, who died trying to save another Shark-bite victim, was named FISHER. His mother's maiden name was WATERS. His father was a SEA CAPTAIN.
>> Stanley's dad, Captain Fisher, commented that in all his years at sea he has NEVER seen a Shark attack a human. I daresay he was more than a little perplexed to hear that his son, working up on dry land in New Jersey as a tailor, had not only been killed by a Shark, but then learned it had happened in FRESH WATER. Fernicola's book does not relate what Captain Fisher made of THAT. The answer, BEFORE YOU EVEN ASK ME, is that we do it that way TO KEEP IT FUN.
>> The same of the other victim Stanley Fisher was trying to save? Stillwell. As in, a well full of still water. Or, just STILL...WELL. Ah, the mutlilayered meanings of human language! Young Lester, claimed at the age of 11 by Dagon's minions, had an utterly damp name and it also tells us his fate: STILL WELL, dwelling in wonder and glory forever with the Deep Ones.
>> A headline quoted on page 75 of the text: "SHARKS ARE MASTER OF THE COAST." Well, YEAH.
>> Page 101: "When considering the impact of water depth, distance from shore, water clarity, sea conditions, and location as they relate to Shark attacks, one should always remember that much or most of the influence points back to human traits rather than Shark preferences." See? EVEN THIS HUMAN AUTHOR ADMITS THAT THE NAKED APES BRING THE ATTACKS ON THEMSELVES.
>> Page 125: "As mentioned earlier, some Great White Sharks forget that the textbook says that most White Sharks are supposed to halt an attack after the first 'distasteful' bite of a human being." YEAH, THEY'RE NOT REALLY BIG READERS.
BRAVA, ALL OF YOU who are picking up these clues to the REAL motivation and plans of the fish world that the author himself misses!
Has any other Shark-bite adventure been THIS obviously piscatorial? I THINK NOT, MY FRIENDS. Keep up the research. Your brains will soon start to atrophy and this sort of fun rummaging through human books will no longer be possible.
Hey, DON'T BE SAD. Remember the good news I told you about a couple of posts back? Soon you will have NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, and NOTHING TO WORRY WITH.

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