Reviews – The Last Girlfriend On Earth, Remembering Satan, and Seed

The original plan for Buried On Indian Ground was to review every book I read. I quickly discovered that was infeasible. As time passed, I narrowed my focus to books that I found particularly interesting, aggravating, or on rare occasions, that I was so in awe of I could barely describe.

Unfortunately, some titles have slipped through the cracks. I should have written a review of Blood and Iron by Tony Ballantyne when it was still fresh in my mind. It’s a unique book that most people would overlook simply because it takes place during a robot war on a planet inhabited solely by robots. Likewise, I didn’t give Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook the attention it deserved. It’s a fun urban fantasy that the book jacket doesn’t do justice. I also feel I could’ve saved readers a lot of time by live-blogging the plot of Gone Girl as I devoured it. It was really good until it was really dumb.

I’ve discussed all these books on the podcast, but the goal of the site has always been to create a place where genre fiction is given the respect it deserves in print. In an effort to bolster that, I’ll be posting capsule reviews one or two Fridays a month for books that I don’t have time to thoroughly review, and for those I just have less to say about.

Case in point, Seed is precisely the type of book I was reading when I realized I didn’t need to fully review everything I read. Ania Ahlborn’s story about a guy who realizes the demon that tormented him as a child is now after his daughter is direct-to-January horror movie fare. There’s a hint of a childhood Faustian bargain in the early going, but the reality is simpler than that. A demon named Mr. Scratch possessed Jack as a child and made him kill his parents. Now the demon’s back to possess Jack’s daughter and make her kill her parents. She does and the end. THE END!

Speaking of evil children, I picked up Remembering Satan after reading Going Clear, Lawrence Wright’s unputdownable investigation of Scientology. But where Going Clear delved deep into the background of all the major players, there’s relatively little explanation for what made Paul Ingram’s family concoct false stories of satanic ritual abuse in 1989. Wright suggests the satanic panic of the late eighties filled a void of fear left at the end of the cold war, but the influence of Ingram’s church seems far more likely. Neither does he make much of the family’s clear lack of education, which probably made them more susceptible to police pressure to produce fantastic scenarios. It’s a sad, disturbing true story of a modern American witch hunt, but Wright’s book is a dry restatement of the details.

Finally, it took me less than two hours to read The Last Girlfriend On Earth, a collection of short stories by Simon Rich. The stories are exceptionally brief, basically crude Far Side strips translated into prose. Imagine what sex would seem like from a virgin condom’s perspective! What would a missed connections ad for dogs be like? What if you could take your girlfriend to the girlfriend repair shop and she’d stop being a bitch? In bulk, the misogynistic slant of the stories is impossible to ignore. Maybe some of his ideas would make fine sketch comedy, but as collected here they’re cute fluff at best, but with a decidedly gross aftertaste.

(Update: This post originally stated that additional Friday Book Drops would follow every Friday. It was been altered to reflect reality. Friday Book Drops will be published once or twice a month depending on the volume of books I’m able to finish. Turns out, once a week was a silly goal to set immediately before immersing myself in two 600 page books.)

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