Monday, 2 September 2013

Lost Book Library Reading Round-Up no. 11

From bumper crop to crop o' shit.

Gorgonzola, Won't You Please Come Home? by Clyde Ames

Status: Abandoned p. 54

In the '60s, spy spoofs in TV and film were seemingly as numerous as proper spy stories.  By the '80s, out of context, they made no sense at all, but nevertheless cluttered up my childhood with their camp incoherence.  This novel is the written equivalent of these films and TV shows.  A spy with the name of Al Fresco seeks to combat the international pirate Eva De Struction.  Despite the terrible pun names, it's not without wit ('The three poodles wagged their tails and thought their deep poodle thoughts'), but if you strip it down, it's pretty much just saying 'pretty ladies got boobies' over and over again.  Somewhere between the scenes in Casino Royale that have Woody Allen in and the the ones that don't.

Virgin Planet by Poul Anderson

Status: Abandoned p. 25

A planet becomes populated entirely by women after a single-sex colonial spaceship crash-lands (Men and women, on the same spaceship?  That's just madness!).  Couldn't really be bothered with this as I generally don't like sci-fi where you have to familiarise yourself with a whole other society, and anyway, it's not a proper lost book.  So, moving on...

Confessions of a Spent Youth by Vance Bourjaily

Status: Abandoned p. 40

Curious one this.  Narrator who is definitely a fictional character and not the author recounts his sexual exploits.  You'd think with it's professed theme, it would be aimed squarely at the wanking market, but there's a lot of well-written padding, and therefore veers into fictional memoir territory.  Maybe it's for masturbators who enjoy a well-crafted paragraph.  Anyway, at 500 pages it's way too long and not a promising enough idea for me to be bothering with.

The Fun House by William Brinkley

Status: Abandoned p. 32

Satirical look at a New York picture magazine.  There's a nice Mad Men vibe to it all, and the situations are reasonably interesting, but there's no story to speak of, more a bunch of anecdotes, and at over 400 pages, again, it just doesn't justify the commitment.  Dropped out at the point the narrator goes off on one about how career women weren't satisfactorily feminine.  Which brings us to...

A Woman in Space by Sara Cavanaugh

Status: Abandoned p. 34

A female astronaut encounters resistance from her fellow space explorers at a level that goes beyond mere sexism and into some sort of mental disorder.  Initially very amusing, as the opening chapter contains gems of paragraphs like:
'General Jameson, who had been one of the pioneers of the initial man on the moon programs, had been placed in charge of the moon base project.  His orders - establish a base on the moon!  His budget - unlimited.  Time factor - full speed ahead .  His objective - beat the Russians who were considering the same goal.  A moon base.'
Ultimately, the one-noteness of it all gets wearisome, but if you want to read an account of the battle for acceptance in the workplace by women transposed into space, then this is definitely the book for you.