Monday, 15 December 2008

Reviews: Earthdoom! by David Langford and John Grant

The ideal book if ever you're lost for words - just open Earthdoom and you'll find lots of them Exeter Advertiser

An oasis in the ocean of literature Bob Shaw

The greatest contribution to English literature since the invention of the semi-colon Ansible

... sounds like an amusing idea ... Isaac Asimov

Does for the disaster genre what Ludd did for the Industrial Revolution Roy Tappen

Fills a long-needed gap Eve Devereux

Could this be the finest book ever written? White Dwarf

The trouble with Earthdoom! is that you really have to grope through a host of books with titles like Tapeworm! and Sludge! and plots like – well, like episodes of Earthdoom! to appreciate just what Langford and Grant are sending up. By then, of course, either your brain has rotted away from disuse or you're so paranoid that the next time the gerbils nip your finger you come down with psychosomatic rabies and infect half the neighbourhood.

Even if you forego the study of literary influences, however, you'll still enjoy Earthdoom! You won't, of course, be able to read another Disaster Novel without giggling (but don't you, anyway?) as what we have here is a scenario for just about every end-of-the world novel possible, starting with the earth tilting on its axis and taking in Hitler cloning himself on a Devonshire farm, the Loch Ness Monster, comets and Horrible Slimy Aliens on a collision course with earth and sub-critical-mass bits of plutonium doing likewise in the London Underground – and I won't even mention the lemmings and the superglue save to say that you'll probably never want to go to the lavatory again. It's all held together with a plot line involving Death, the Antichrist, various sets of incompetent scientists as two-fistedly gung-ho as any Doc Smith character (but randier) and numerous knock-knock jokes ...

If you don't get a copy of this for your collection of skiffy blockbusters there isn't much hope for you.

Andy Sawyer for Paperback Inferno

In the mood for something so outrageous, so epic, so wildly funny, something so common, but yet filled with personality that it reads differently, so differently that it is addicting?

is the book for you.

The world is going to end, but not in a flash; it will be long and slow and take millions of lives in the process. The main concern is an antimatter comet heading straight for the sun that will set the Earth off, but that is just the tip of the iceberg; throw in some melting polar icecaps, werewolves, vampires, the loch ness monster, chemical warfare, terrorism, and alien invasion.

Through these chains of events, we are introduced to and suffer with a group of individuals who try to save the world.

Up in space, Colonel Bart Malone, a closet homosexual and brazen American astronaut, and Adrianna Dimpla, Russian cosmonaut, run a parallel course with the comet, intending their doom as well. Can Dimpla stop the comet and ward off Malone's sexual harassment?

On Earth, Junior Finkelstein, a 6 year old who has premonitions of Earthdoom!, puts together a Think Tank of doctors and scientists who could save the world. There is his mother, Nadia, a Nasa boss; Mark Tampion and Lise Pranther, mathematicians trying to decode an lien message; Gwyntor Bjorstrom, a climatologist; Lucious Apricot, a drunken particle physicist; and Al Bran, a psychologist; to name a few.

Then there is Adolf Hitler who has escaped into his time machine back in 1941 to the present (1991) where he begins cloning himself to form the 4th Reich with the help of Farmer Loam''s cattle cloning machine.

Oh, there is also Death who wanders around and a race of aliens called Cygnan.

As you can see, this is a very busy novel, but really quite simple in plot. The authors manage to keep their head on the ground and not forget what they are trying to accomplish: as wacky as the end of the world is, it is still scary as hell.

The heart of the novel lies in the 2 dimensional characters' simplicity. Mostly, the men are sex starved idiots even though they have powerful and intelligent positions in their career, and the women, although extremely beautiful, are intelligent and often manipulating the men. This dynamic often had me rolling with laughs and shaking my head in disbelief; and art that is tough to pull off and I''m sure it is something that you have to be born with.

Sharp, witty dialogue, overblown imagination, and just plain fun, Earthdoom! is a hell of a ride.
Mike Purfield

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