Review – Pax Titanus by Tom Lucas

August 11, 2015 at 5:26 pm (Bizarro, Review, Writing) (, , , , , , , )

The first thing you need to know about Pax Titanus is that Veritassian shlongs are huge. Veritassians also have four arms, can only speak the truth, and tend to be pretty tough. The second thing you need to know is that the universe is vast and uncaring, and kind of filled with jerks, like intergalactic kidnappers, slutty swords, betrayers and of course the biggest jerk of all, the emperor of space. When you read Pax Titanus, you’ll see these forces come head to head, following lovable protagonist Titanus (a Veritassian) as he battles through an alien gladiatorial gauntlet to save his son from dream the machinations of the aforementioned jerks and some dream leeches. That’s that first thing indicating author Tom Lucas knows his way around storytelling. Lucas tells a warm, grounded and hilarious story of love and revenge. Even with all the insanity described above firmly in place, he somehow manages to cling to a fastidious sense of internal logic that makes reading Pax Titanus an absolute joy.

Often times in a novella, the story feels squeezed into a smaller package than it deserves due to length restrictions. This is not the case with Pax Titanus. Lucas has wisely steered clear of a lot of extraneous complexities of plot and stuck with a clear and concise story arc. We see Titanus with his family, get forced into the tournament, grow as a fighter, get a coach, accolades from the crowd, and training, all of which leads from battle to battle until the climactic fight to win it all. The simplicity of story serves the book well, and allows moments of humor and character to gleam. One moment I particularly loved was when our hero is in trouble in one of the final matches and a message comes from his wife that gives him hope. The twist? His wife is a squid, who oozes various emotional secretions. I won’t spoil the moment here, but it’s bits like these that show the range of Lucas’s sense of humor and allow the style to come through the simple story, simply told.

This book comes recommended for any sci-fi fan, video game junkie or bizarro book lover. The sheer variety of the alien races, the bizarre and captivating descriptions of their quirks, and the imaginative fights are well worth the price of admission. Are you ready to crush some skulls? Tom Lucas is, and he’s been kind enough to share a knockout sledgehammer blow with his readers.

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Review: Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Wayne Adams

October 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

If I were to ask you what Catholicism, theoretical cosmology and licking asses have in common, there’s a possibility that the jokes would write themselves, and yet many would remain confused, wracking their brains and softly punching their genitals in consternation, trying to find the elusive connective material between the three. When a solution began to present itself, I would introduce mutant bees that sting with the power of a hundred aphrodisiacs, and then, just to put the cherry on top of the metaphorical anus of meaning, and to continue to defy the agile tongue of understanding, I would tell you that you can’t transubstantiate into a living pig without some complications. Then, I would tickle you until you peed your pants. The look on your face at that exact moment would be the same look you would have during your reading of Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Wayne Adams. Like me, you also wouldn’t be able to put the book down until you had completely devoured this smart, hilarious, and completely bizarre story.

Writing with a wit and wisdom that defies the seemingly crass subject matter, Adams brilliantly executes one of the best satirical novellas I’ve seen in a long time. The universe is filled with planets that cater to very specific sexual acts, all run by a bureaucratic Catholic Church from their headquarters on the sun. There are legends of an old era, an existence that wasn’t ruled by the church and not every waking moment was dedicated to sexual fetishism and debauchery (outside of Lent, of course). Nobody knows what happened to make things the way they are, and Adams deftly works this central idea into an epic mystery that underlies the entirety of the book. His prose sings with a combination of perfectly crafted comedy and dire science fiction, with a great witty edge that cuts to the heart of religion, sex, class and any number of other subjects central to the status quo. This is a manuscript that doesn’t mind wondering aloud “Does love exist? What is the nature of existence?” while throwing a poop joke and a load of raunchy sex acts at the reader without batting an eye.

The characters are fun, and easy to identify with, especially the titular hero, Jack. When Jack, the only person on the planet, left to clean up the mess during Lent, finds that he is not alone, things begin to go absolutely insane. Nimue, the unnaturally speedy and strange woman from the water, Jack’s boss Bishop Eichmann, who appears from the ground as a pile of holy debris and Virgil, a dangerous man working for a mysterious behind-the-scenes power structure add so much colorful character to the cast, it’s almost criminal. The shifting alliances and over-the-top comedy of these characters propel the action of this book, and somehow Adams is able to keep everything consistent and driven, despite the madness. There are some obvious parallels here as well between Janitor of Planet Anilingus and other works. Like Dante’s Virgil of the Inferno, Jack’s Virgil leads him through a sort of hell. Toward the end of the book, tropes from the Alien films and other sci-fi classics are turned inside out and exploded. There are plenty of the usual bizarro genre gross-out moments (such as the symptoms from what might or might not be an STD) but they’re written so hilariously that the reader can’t wait to see what’s next, scatologically speaking. I can not say enough about how much fun I had reading this book, and would suggest that anyone who wants to laugh until they poop themselves pick this up post-haste.

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