Book Fuck Club: Moon People
June 18, 2012 in Book Fuck Club
I’m still trying to decide if I believe this author is serious, or if this is a Flaccid Ego-style prank that some mad genius has played on the world. I’m leaning towards the former. I kept waiting for the overtly absurd moment in the narrative that would have revealed that the author was punking us the whole time, but that moment never came. It’s just too banal to be satire.
And when I realized that moment was never going to come, I almost started to feel a little bit dirty. There is a shameful pleasure to be had in indulging in the kind of voyeurism that Moon People offers. It’s a look into the mind of a man who is neither particularly bright nor uncommonly dumb, neither sane nor crazy, but rather painfully average and completely lacking the kind of self-consciousness that keeps most other average people from writing novels, let alone self-publishing them without even slipping a fifty to a high school Honors English student to edit them.
But I think there’s something quite endearing about Moon People, particularly the instances where we see the author’s banality shine through. As a work of speculative fiction, it’s shockingly conservative. Given a blank canvas where the possibilities are endless, the author constructs a 2048 that is surprisingly similar to 2012. The author doesn’t dream of leaps and bounds in terms of technology. He’s quite satisfied with really big computer screens and automated room service. The aliens that inhabit the Moon People universe are spectacularly boring (the meal the protagonist shares with the friendly aliens upon first contact consists of asparagus, baked potatoes and chocolate ice cream, and the alien leader remarks that their own food is basically the same,) and the book’s climax is a three-page space battle where three ships sit stationary in space and shoot lasers at each other until one of them blows up.
In case you’re wondering, it’s the bad guys that blow up.
The bad guys that we just met three pages prior.
So the only real tensions that exist in the book are as follows: the next space shuttle launch is taking place on Halloween (this aspect is repeated at least once per page up until the actual launch, then it’s dropped like a hot potato;) the protagonist falls in love with a woman a day before he is launched into space (also a plot line dropped following the launch;) and then, just as the book is ending, we meet some bad aliens that are quickly destroyed in what has to be the most flaccid and constipated space battle in sci-fi history.
But even more benign than the tension is the romance. If you thought this might be one place where the author let his imagination run wild, you’re wrong. The protagonist and his love interest, a (presumably) middle-aged diner owner whose personality is as absent as is any description of what she might look like, engage in an evening of polite, respectful lovemaking, declare their intense love for each other, and then never speak to each other again. At least not in this volume.
Anyway, this post is growing too long, and I should really be talking about all this in the comments.
What did you think?