Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Holy Rusted Mother of Storms Batman!

The first 93 pages of:
Mother of Storms
John Barnes
Tor, 1995
Rating: -6.5, Scale (-12:12)

This is really the review of two books: first, the opening 93 pages of Mother of Storms, one of the worst openings that we at Elfstar Industries, LLC, have seen recently, and second, the last 482 pages of Mother of Storms, the best book that we at Elfstar will never read. Why two reviews? Because the CIO of Elfstar LLC managed to lose the book on the bus, and refuses to buy another copy of it.

We mean, really, the last 482 pages of this book were really good, I mean so good in fact that we're considering stating that books such as the Iliad, Gravity's Rainbow, and Infinite Jest simply be burned as they cannot touch the beauty that is the last 482 pages of this book. The first 93, well, they weren't so good. But the last 482 pages would have roxxored ur boxxors.

Why were the first 93 pages so bad? Well, in that pile of pages, we were introduced to a metric ass-ton of characters, the majority of whom we only meet once. These characters were all totally one-dimensional, and a few of them have reprehensibility as their main dimension. So we at Elfstar Industries didn't really come to care anything about those characters. In fact, we were rooting for several most of them to bite it.

A partial list of the characters that we meet, and the number of times that we meet them, are as follows: The Boy Who Loved The Bomb (one visit), The Horny Engineering Student (two visits), The Beautiful Student Activist (two visits), The Money-Grubbing Capitalist SchwienHunt (one visit), Captain Spaceman (one visit), The Smart Eccentric Hermetic Weather Scientist (one visit), The Money Grubbing Capitalists' LapSchweinHunt (one visit), The Ball of Rage (two visits), The Smart and No-Nonsense Female President (one visit), The Probably a Pervert Vice President (one visit), and The Plucky NOAA Scientist (two visits). As you can tell, that's a lot of characters.

Now, there's a minor problem with the first 93 pages, which we hate to even talk about, but we're going to. It's written in the present tense. Now, normally that's not a problem, because most sub-standard writers don't use it. When a good writer writes in present tense, it's a fine thing; bad writers' present tense prose tends to come off clunky and juvenile. Guess which category John Barnes falls into. Quick! Guess!

So what happens in the first 93 pages of the book? Well, The Boy Who Loves the Bomb drops some bombs onto the north pole, in a premeditated proactive strike against the Soverign Territories of Alaska or something. These antimatter bombs melt all sorts of clathrates, releasing huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere. The back cover tells us that this is going to cause all sorts of hurricanes and, presumably, the title-referenced Mother of Storms. We quote the back cover because the first 93 pages never get there.

After these exciting (*yawn*) five pages, we're immersed into the world of misogyny, with detailed descriptions of terrible tortures and death used against women. This goes on for a disgustingly long time, and covers several characters. Then there's some rape fantasies (this is after the previously-mentioned misanthropy), some scientific garbage, some quoting of Yeats, some more misanthropy, then, well, some more misanthropy (seeing a pattern? We were disgusted.), some more pseudoscience, some more misanthropy, and then, just before the first city was destroyed, the book was lost.

Now, at this point, the book gets great! At page 94, which we at Elfstar Industries, LLC, did not read, cities are levelled! Civilizations are destroyed! Barnes writes in the past tense! It's incredible! There's no more misanthropy; in fact, the world rejoices in the Power of Women! Why? Because the book ends with a stunning scene, with much flag waving, where Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith lead a plucky group of ex-Navy, ex-Marine, and ex-cropduster pilots in a stunning attack on the very center of the hurricane! Through their self-sacrifice the hurricane's secret store of methane is DESTROYED and the storm ends, bringing the Threat Against Humanity to its knees! And what's more, all the pilots are female! They've had Amelia Earhart's memories and skills plastered over their own, and once they've killed the rampaging hurricane hordes they turn their skills on misanthropy itself, shatter the glass ceiling, and burn down Violence Against Women! The whole world rejoices and women are safe to walk the streets or even cook in the kitchen forevermore!

Man, do we at Elfstar Industries wish we'd read the last 483 pages of the book instead of the first 93. The last 483 pages are a real, red-blooded, American book, not like all the filthy books being taught in college today. Damn, that would have been a great book. It's a shame we didn't, and will never, read it.


Blogger "I Love you, Catmother!" said...

"A great big romp of a 'quasi-cyber-punk' novel," says WIRED

Who are they kidding?

1:20 AM  
Blogger elfstar said...

Hey man - "It delivers!"

7:52 PM  

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