creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

12 Aug 2010

Shambling Towards Hiroshima - James Morrow

This novel takes place in 1945, before the end of WWII on the Japanese front, and the US has two options to end the war: 1. they could use the result of Project Manhattan and drop an A-bomb on the Japanese, or 2. they could use the results of the top secret Knickerbocker project and release a behemoth of unsurpassed deadliness, a gigantic biological weapon that's essentially a ginormous fire-breathing super-aggressive iguana, who would wreck havoc and destruction upon any Japanese city. The thing is, they don't want to release any Godzilla if they can avoid it, so they want to make a mini-demonstration of its destructive powers to a handful of Japanese emissaries. And that's where our first-person narrator comes in.
Syms Thorley is a B-list horror movie actor, who specializes in playing The Monster in various 1930s and 1940s horror movies. Mummies, Frankensteinian monsters, and other prosthetics-and-makeup-heavy characters are his specialty - and he has the shamble, the limping walk down pat for every character. If you haven't guessed his role in the story yet, look closely at the cover art. That's it.
This was a somewhat short, very witty, and quite entertaining read. It reminded me a bit of Kurt Vonnegut's writing style, except less ADHD-like, a more focused narrative that skipped from flashback (in 1945) to present-tense and -time narration (pretty much every chapter begins with our narrator telling us what distraction occurred when he wrote the previous chapter).
(And by the way, I lifted the picture from this thing, which is a far more detailed review-like-thing with a much better exploration of this book's themes. Click on the link!)

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