Friday, March 16, 2007


Miami ViceAlthough certainly not Christopher Moore’s best work, YOU SUCK certainly holds the reader’s interest, with the additional bonus of being a sequel-of-sorts to BLOOD SUCKING FIENDS, his tale of vampirism in present day San Francisco.

For those who’ve read Blood Sucking Fiends, the story will be familiar terrain. If you haven’t, it’s probably not that big of a deal, as You Suck does stand alone as a self-contained novel. But those who’ve read Blood Sucking Fiends will get the past, comedic barbs that Moore so loves to play around with in this newest novel.

You Suck is about three basic people. Well ...not basic. Some of them are vampires. One of these is the hot-bodied redhead, Jodi. New to the undead realm thanks to the bite of an ancient vampire named Elijah, Jodi feels lonely and in need of companionship. Enter Thomas Flood, whom Jodi turns from human to non-human in the "bat" of an eye. Thomas and Jodi are in love, but this goes a little beyond that. Thomas is initially incensed at her attack on his humanness. But he has to deal with it and so he begins to learn the ways of the night. Problems quickly arise, however, when our two new vamps realize that they need a minion, someone to watch over them during their daytime slumbers. Welcome aboard sixteen-year-old Abby Normal (Young Frankenstein, anyone?), a wannabe undead gothster who falls for "Lord Flood" and tries to understand (often wrongfully) about the lives of vampires.

When Elijah — who was imprisoned in a bronze cast by Jodi — escapes from his bonds, all hell starts breaking loose.

The Animals, the name given to Thomas’ old coworkers at a local Safeway, return from a raucous time in Las Vegas only to discover that their old buddy, Thomas, is a vampire. Not good. And with the Animals comes a blue hooker. That’s not "blue" in the sense of depression, but blue as in the color of her skin. Draining the Animals of almost all their funds, Thomas’ friends beseech him to loan them some more money so that they can continue partying with Blue.

But Blue discovers something quickly about Thomas. She knows he’s a blood sucker and wants to become one herself. With the help of the Animals, Thomas is locked away into a rather dominatrix situation with Blue. When Thomas awakens and then bites Blue, another problem vampire is added to San Francisco’s streets. Then the Animals begin disappearing or turning into the undead. But is Blue the only one responsible for this? What has Elijah been doing?

Needless to say, the story is entertaining and a suitably quick read. The biggest letdown is that the laughs are spread too far apart compared to previous Moore works. Although there are some gut-busting moments (mostly having to do with Abby Normal’s diary entries), the main heft of the story isn’t given over to enough comedic moments.

Even so, Chris Moore fans will eat up (pun intended) this latest installment by an author who knows how to keep his readers interested. But new readers? We’ll have to see.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Catch-22When a piece of literature gets stuck into a culture, you know there’s really something to it. Having read CATCH-22 when in high school, I decided to revisit it in this crazy George Bush-world we now live in. The parallels are frighteningly surreal. But let’s not get political.

This is the story of one man’s fight to exit WW II in one piece. His name is Captain Yossarian and he finds the war-torn world to be a place of contradictions and ignorant men of power. Flying missions over Europe, Yossarian’s commanders continually up the number of missions that must be flown before the men can be circulated back to the States. Yossarian realizes he’ll never stop flying these terribly dangerous missions because whenever he gets close to his final one, his CO’s up them (a Catch-22 in itself). The ridiculous qualities of war are thrown at Yossarian as we witness his conflicting tragedies through comedic/ironic eyes.

In his do-anything-to-stay-alive fashion, Yossarian enters the hospital as often as possible with stomach ailments, or by trying to be deemed mentally unstable. Neither works, of course.

Pinning medals on naked men, rowing to Sweden with a tiny spoon, and living with a dead guy who never made it past his first mission, Yossarian’s gambits know no bounds.

Heller’s writing style is something of a marvel, too. His own prose is done in Catch-22 fashion, making the reader laugh and cringe (Example: “Don’t interrupt.” “Yes, sir.” “And say ‘sir’ when you do.” “Yes, sir.” “Weren’t you just ordered not to interrupt?”)

It’s amazing that even today the term Catch-22 can be heard muttered by people who don’t know the reference from which it originated. Try asking someone what a Catch-22 is and they’ll likely be able to tell you, but many probably won’t know where the term came from. I think we owe it to Joseph Heller to keep this pun alive, especially with what’s going on in the Whitehouse right now.

Oh, darn! There I go again. Sorry...