Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Gil's All Fright Diner & Mammoth

Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez--Good, campy fun. With all the necessary ingredients. Zombie cows, ghouls, old multidimensional gods who use a greasy spoon diner as a doorway to Earth. And a balding, somewhat wimpy vampire named Earl and his good buddy Duke, a werewolf with a keg belly. Heck, it's even got a pretty decent love story.

The plot is pretty straightforward. Duke and Earl, drifters by nature, wander into the already weird-plagued town of Rockwood. A few bites into a cup of chile at Gil's All Night Diner, Duke's dinner is interrupted by the shambling arrival of a host of zombies. While Loretta, the proprietor, rather calmly searches for her shotgun, Earl unsuccessfully tries to deal with the zombies. Duke, who is intent on finishing his meal, finally sets aside his spoon and tears the zombies limb for limb. Soon after, Loretta hires the boys on to help deal with the undead problem and...dig a trench for a new pipeline. (Hard to get good labour in SticksVille.) The undead problem grows into a ghoul-, and then undead cow-problem, ending with a confrontation with tentacled evil.

I hope the author writes a sequel.

Very recommended, probably a keeper, for me anyway.

Mammoth by John Varley
--Uneven as a dusty dirt road.

The novel starts in the manner of many thrillers. Very Rich Guy wants to do some revolutionary science and hires (buys) Big Experts. Nothing wrong with formula, when done right. In this case, the first third is true to formula and a page-turner. The middle third bogs down horribly with a tedious "what happened in the next five years" narrative. Very Rich Guy builds a theme park over the objections of many; rakes in more billions, blah, blah, blah. There's an un-scary interrogation by shadowy government figures. The last third picks up somewhat when the Big Experts decided to go "Free Willy," mammoth style. Though the ending has a good twist, it is marred by an "everyone is redeemed" happy-sappy ending.

The science is like bad coffee: watered down and not worth the buzz. There is a feeble mention/explanation of superstring theory, but the how and why of time travel gets un-explained via spiritual mumbo jumbo.

Um

wait for it.

Not recommended.

On to...
Underworld: Blood Enemy by Greg Cox and Gasa-Gasa Girl by Naomi Hirahara

P. Kirby

 

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