I'm not sure. Twenty years ago, I thought this was one of the funniest things I'd ever read. I picked it up recently and read a few pages, and it didn...moreI'm not sure. Twenty years ago, I thought this was one of the funniest things I'd ever read. I picked it up recently and read a few pages, and it didn't really grab me. (Not a terrifically helpful review, I know.)(less)
**spoiler alert** Fine modern fantasy from up and coming sf writer and happening web editor at boingboing.net, with the potential to please both sf an...more**spoiler alert** Fine modern fantasy from up and coming sf writer and happening web editor at boingboing.net, with the potential to please both sf and mainstream readers.
This chimera of a novel combines a plot with the geek appeal of a Neal Stephenson novel with a touching family story built out of absudist elements that might have come from Italo Calvino or Kurt Vonnegutt. We first meet Alan in Toronto, after he has made some money running a series of vaguely bohemian enterprises—-bookstores; used clothing stores; etc.. He has painstakingly renovated a house in the student district to be the perfect setting for writing. He is distracted by his neighbors; primarily the sadistic punk Krishna, who is immediately hostile, and Krishna’s girlfriend, Mimi, an attractive young woman who is revealed to have a set of wings, which Krishna regularly hacks off so that Mimi might pass among us. Both recognize Alan as something other than normal, and in the story’s other thread, they’re proven right. His mother was a washing machine, his father the mountain in which he grew up. Among his brothers are an island and three nesting doll-like creatures, all of whom help Alan murder their resentful and dangerous brother, David. Alan is further distracted when he meets Kurt, a techno-punk slowly installing wireless access points throughout the city to provide universal free internet, a scheme that immediately engages Alan, who becomes the co-mastermind. Crisis blossoms when, with Krishna as his Renfrew, decomposing brother David returns seeking revenge, first by murdering the brothers, and then targeting Mimi, now with Alan, and Kurt.
Smart, clever, delightful stuff; it falls short of perfect—-for some reason, alone in the book, the otherwise convincing Mimi tells her story in a distractingly written manner—-but it still stands to be one of the better non-magic-and-dragon fantasies this year. (less)
A deft, funny, caper novel, incorporating gleefully savage attacks on the Church, the advertising industry, and the charity industry; occasionally hea...moreA deft, funny, caper novel, incorporating gleefully savage attacks on the Church, the advertising industry, and the charity industry; occasionally heartfelt characters; and an inspired marketing gimmick.
While often compared to Hiassen, Fitzhugh is fast creating his own dark and funny category. In this third outing, amoral adman Dan Steele, up to his neck in debt and smug consumerism, is fish-out-of-watered when he steals the best idea of his career ("More is more") from an unstable copywriter, just as Dan's twin brother Michael, an excommunicated do-gooder priest, returns from Africa, ill. Registered at the hospital as Dan for insurance coverage, Michael succumbs to tetanus, and, on the run from legal problems, insurance investigators and his now homicidal ex-colleague, Dan dons Michael's collar. As Father Michael, Dan goes to work at Sister Peg's Care Center, where he falls for Peg (fortunately, no more a nun than he is a priest). Predictably, Dan finds redemption caring for others, and he'll obviously save the financially teetering facility with his advertising savvy. Fitzhugh commits sins of inclusion, as well: There are two hookers with hearts of gold; no less than four gunmen converging for the climax; not content to harpoon his satirical targets, Fitzhugh levels them with assault weapons and then jumps up and down on their heads. There's always a bit too much of everything, but the author's having so much fun that we do, too. To top it off, he claims a product placement deal--the first ever for a novel--with Seagram's, and you can hear him chortling through the ad-speak whenever Dan is glowingly described sipping scotch.
Smart, fast and funny. Fitzhugh is a dangerous man. (less)
I think I actually like this better than his sf, and part of what it is is that he brings an sf sensibility to a non-sf story. I think he's becoming a...moreI think I actually like this better than his sf, and part of what it is is that he brings an sf sensibility to a non-sf story. I think he's becoming an outstanding novelist by any standard.(less)
Before there was a Wikipedia, I used this all the time. I still have my copy right by my desk. When there was a reference you didn't recognize, you'd...moreBefore there was a Wikipedia, I used this all the time. I still have my copy right by my desk. When there was a reference you didn't recognize, you'd find it here.(less)