by Tim Scott
Cover Artist: Stephen Youll
Review by Paul Haggerty
Spectra Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553589856
Date: 24 June 2008 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
[Editor's Note: We're re-running Paul Haggerty's review from our June 2007 issue.]
The first thing you need to know about this book: It's weird! In the first chapter our protagonist comes home to find out that his home has been stolen and a limpet encyclopedia saleswoman (she sticks to you until you buy) has just dropped from a combat helicopter to make him a deal he can't refuse. From there things make less and less sense. And yet they do. It's a city where neighborhoods are themed by music genres (classical, easily listening, white noise, etc). A city where the Zone Traffic Police have become all powerful. Oh, and a group of heavy metal bikers want our protagonist to help them kill god. Trust me, these things do fit together ... eventually.
Johnny X67 has just started having a really bad day. In the world he lives in, people found a way to miniaturize things to 1/100 their original size. Immediately a booming market opened up in stealing houses and selling them on the black market to anybody who wanted a particular model, and didn't really want to waste time picking out curtains and furniture. The only difference, is that these thieves left a calling card labeled "Don't you hate it when this happens?", complete with phone number. Perhaps he could have made some sense out of it, if it weren't for Caroline E61 showing up to sell him encyclopedias. Or if he hadn't concentrated so hard on getting to a bar and getting drunk.
But his quest for alcoholic deliverance is cut short by the appearance of the Riders of the Apocalypse; four big grungy men on huge motorcycles that kidnap him for nefarious plans of their own.
Suddenly on the run from good guys and bad guys alike, Johnny needs to find his few trustworthy friends and gather enough information to figure out what is really going on. Because everyone is armed, and nobody seems to have his best interested at heart.
The first three quarters of this book are dedicated to introducing more strands of plot than a weaver ever would think of putting on a loom. The last quarter deftly begins the process of connecting the various plot lines until the whole mess collapses into ... well, a nightmarishly complicated and unbelievable resolution where nothing is what or who they appear to be, and everything you've learned is probably wrong. Still it's a crazy world with a rich tapestry of concepts and characters that will most likely make you laugh out loud .. even if you happen to be in a doctor's office and that sort of thing is frowned upon.