I don’t even know how to rate this. Gods of the Jungle Planet by esteemed nonagenerian Vernon. D. Burns is a terrible book, defying just about every rule known to novel making – character, plot, continuity, sense. But hey, I’ve been reading way too many good books this year – seriously, I think my rating average is hovering towards 5 since the year’s start – and sometimes you just need to read some kibble so you can appreciate the blue cheese in butter sauce. Or whatever you love best to eat.
Here’s the part where I tried to type out a plot description. That was a bad idea.
A friend of mine wrote a book called Unsafe on Any Screen, where he collected the reviews he’d written for trash cinema, the kind of movie with boobies, blood, and maybe a monster. His reviews have two metrics: how many oiled gorillas he’d wrestle to get to the movie, and how many scotches you need to get through it. That’s the kind of metric needed to rate this book, not this bloodless “it’s ok” “it was amazing” stuff. I mean, really? It’s ok? Wtf am I supposed to do with that?
So, I’d wrestle a thousand gorillas. And then I would crack up laughing when it turned out the gorillas were turning into humanoids with stingers on their heads, and naked mole rats, and dromaeosaurids, which is like my favorite word. And a homosexual biologist named Caris who is also a homosexual, which you might have missed had it not been mentioned googleplex times. But I’d only drink maybe two scotches, because I would want to be frosty in case there was a continuity error I missed. And believe me, there’s about a hundred of them.
So I got thinking about pulp fiction. It seems to me that maybe there’s two kinds, and, I should probably note, there’s some scotch talking here. One is worried about style, like the stuff that’s read too much Conan Doyle and, um, name me one of those noir motherfuckers, you know, the kind that talks about molls in the hard light of the streetlamp and stuff. Then there’s the other, which goes for lurid kicks, doesn’t give a shit about punctuation, and rolls sloppily from one scene to the other, spurting blood and semen and meatloaf.
This book is pretty much the second. It’s the kind of thing that is a parody so hard, so deep, that it will puncture your kidneys. It is almost indistinguishable from its source material, but for the odd, inobtrusive wink. There’s not going to be much verbal vorpal snicker-snack to hang onto here if you claim to dig this – this is not about style – so if you dig this, you have to admit you just dig this. It’s a tautology and a hieratic truth. Which is the coolest thing ever, to me.
So, yeah, this isn’t good, whatever that means. I don’t recommend it to the squeamish and the sensible. But I laughed out loud – or in the parlance of our times, lol’d – more often than was wise. Fuck wisdom when you’ve got sex scenes this gross, misogyny this dense, or assholes this flaming. Life is a continuity error, baby. Gimme some sugar.