Talked about on today’s show: We help Jesse clear off his desk by discussing books in paper (dead trees and rags), “like e-books but thicker”; Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan, second in the Lady Trent series, gorgeously illustrated, Darwin meets dragons; why are illustrations dying out, even in e-books?; Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan features good illustrations; The Raven’s Shadow, third in Elspeth Cooper’s Wild Hunt series; how many print pages in an hour of audio?; more from L.E. Modesitt Jr’s Imager series; John C. Wright’s The Judge of Ages, with allusions to Cordwainer Smith; The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, smarter steampunk?; a tangent on translating page to screen; Tam likes more fantasy in his fantasy; a tangent on Game of Thrones; a tangent on Citizen Brick and the expiration of the LEGO patent; The Revolutions by Felix Gilman; science fiction was once planetary romance; The Prestige; Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year vol. 8 edited by Jonathan Strahan, now published by Solaris, featuring a lot of great stories; and we finally reach audiobooks!; The Scottish Fairy Book, Volume 1; the timeless quality of folktales; Classics Lesson of the Day: Ovid’s a boy, Sappho’s a girl; Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear; we try to puzzle out what a stele is; we praise Bear’s interview on Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy; Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered isn’t romance “because fifty-year-olds never have romance”; Without a Summer, third in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories series, expertly narrated by the author; Dreamwalker by C.S. Friedman doesn’t seem to be your run-of-the-mill urban fantasy (suburban fantasy?); Indexing by Seanan McGuire, urban fantasy with a postmodern twist; mimetic incursion and Jorge Luis Borges’s Averroes’s Search; Night Broken by Patricia Briggs, eighth in her Mercy Thompson series; a tangent on midriff tattoos and names for tattoos on other parts of the body; Jenny has created a new genre, Scientific Near Future Thrillers!; in the future, iPods will be merged into our eyebrows; science and technology don’t evolve quite how we expect; Neil Gaiman discusses the influence of Ballard and other classic SF writers on the Coode Street Podcast; Sleep Donation by Karen Russell; Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux; Boswell is Samuel Johnson’s biographer; Afterparty by Daryl Gregory is blowing up on Goodreads; pre- and post-apocalyptic fiction–no actual apocalypse this time; The End is Nigh, first in the Apocalypse Triptych edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey; the tech gremlins didn’t want us to discuss Dust, the third in Hugh Howey’s Silo series; Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor; The Forever Watch by David Ramirez, Jesse thinks the protagonist has too many jobs; “pause resister”, WTF?; Dark Eden by Chris Beckett, already reviewed here at SFFaudio; we struggle to define Pentecostal; religious opposition to the film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass; Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s The Edge of Tomorrow (originally entitled All You Need Is Kill), Groundhog Day meets Fullmetal Jacket, film adaptation features Tom Cruise; Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer, a hardboiled detective story on Mars; Noggin by John Corey Whaley; Decoded by Mai Jia; Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones is a refresh of The Arabian Nights; Frank Herbert’s Direct Descent is about a library planet; novella is the best length for SF; Night Ride and Other Journeys by Charles Beaumont, a “writer’s writer” who wrote for The Twilight Zone; Christopher Moore’s The Serpent of Venice is an irreverent Shakespeare/Poe mashup.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Themes: / exotic island / humor / commercial jet / cannibal / cargo cult /
Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise – a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats. Our bumbling hero is Tucker Case, a hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy’s body, who makes a living as a pilot for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation. But when he demolishes his boss’s pink plane during a drunken airborne liaison, Tuck must run for his life from Mary Jean’s goons. Now there’s only one employment opportunity left for him: piloting shady secret missions for an unscrupulous medical missionary and a sexy blond high priestess on the remotest of Micronesian hells. Here is a brazen, ingenious, irreverent, and wickedly funny novel from a modern master of the outrageous.
Christopher Moore is a popular writer and satirist in the vein of Terry Pratchett and Kurt Vonnegut with titles like Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal; You Suck: A Love Story; and many Moore (how could I resist?).
Island of the Sequined Love Nun was actually my first foray into his work, but what got me more than anything else, even more than Moore’s popularity and humor, was the title itself. It says it all. And after having read it, it’s an extremely fitting title.
Tucker Case skates by in life, nearly everything has been handed to him, not the least of which is his job flying a pink jet for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation, which he almost immediately crashes…while drunkenly fooling around with a girl he “didn’t know was a prostitute.”
With an intro like that, how can you resist?
Tucker is essentially imprisoned as Mary Jean attempts to salvage the situation for her company. Having lost his license to fly, his options are limited and thus begins the meat of our story as Tuck is contacted by a less-than-reputable employer claiming to be doing “missionary service.”
One of the first things I noticed was that Moore is not afraid to be outrageous and he does so often. There are jokes about cannibals, religions, transsexuals, you name it. He pushes the boundaries and even does so a bit too far for this self-admitted prude. Then again, I didn’t not laugh either.
Tucker Case comedically bumbles around the place, just accepting life as it’s handed to him, but the problem is you either love him or hate him, and I found myself leaning toward the latter. He bugged me from the start and he does eventually develop redeeming qualities, but it was almost too late for me. That’s why I couldn’t say I absolutely loved this book, it was just decent.
A big part of how I measure how much I am liking an audiobook is how much I look forward to my morning drive or how much I skive off, to use a British term, whatever I’m doing to listen and while it wasn’t painful, it also wasn’t my favorite.
In the end, Island of the Sequined Love Nun was a good introduction to Christopher Moore. While I didn’t absolutely love it, I will definitely come back for more (I held back!). I’m looking forward to reading some of his more popular works in the near future.
3 out of 5 Stars (Recommended with Reservations)
Review by Bryce L.
KUSP radio broadcasting out of Santa Cruz, California has a plethora of science fiction and fantasy author audio interviews available.
Interviewed by Rick Kleffel:
Carter Scholz – Interview
Ira Sher – Interview
Mary Roach – Interview
Posted by Jesse Willis