Sunday, March 18, 2012

New This Week #1: Emperor Mollusk vs the Sinister Brain

Actually, I believe one of these came out two weeks ago, but nevermind: I have conquered no less than three books in the last seven days, and since they are all new releases from less-than-ridiculously-famous authors, I wanted to take a minute to showcase them for you, the discerning fiction enthusiast.

First up is Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain, by A. Lee Martinez.  Full disclosure: I met the author at my local writing workshop, and then went to find some of his books.  The only one I could immediately get my hands on was A Nameless Witch, which I read and for the most part enjoyed, but also had serious issues with (you can see my review over here.)  So I had tempered my expectations for this new novel, even in spite of its scintillating title.

Well, let me tell you: it lives up to the name.  This is a pulp-tastic Earth-and-space adventure with mutant dinosaurs and cheerfully voracious cyborg-centipedes and immortal mummy queens and loads more besides – and what really impressed me isn’t that it’s fun and colorful and creative all the way through, but that all of it is used to overlay a Deep Thought or two – pretty artfully, to my mind.  I guess my biggest regret with this book is that all of those neato-terrific creatures and setpieces are so transient: coming from a section of the bookstore where you can readily expect to spend a sequel or three with all the fantastic characters and conceits from the Discworld or the Hitchhiker’s Guide, glossing over these ones here in the space of a couple hundred pages (and really more like thirty apiece, since the narrative keeps us hustling on through) is like having only half an hour to tour the whole of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory: frustrating as hell, but what a great problem to have!

Tune in tomorrow for That Weird City, a collection of short stories for which 'weird' is just the beginning.

Mutant insects were eating Kansas.

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