This awesomely bad novel, chosen by [personal profile] tool_of_satan, is the first book I'm reading in my two-day read-a-thon. It's not too late to sponsor me, by the way!

Before I say anything at all about Walpurgis III, I have to direct your attention to the cover, which features 1) a hilarious Satanic person with two seals of Solomon on his person, wearing a classically pointy Evil Overlord outfit, 2) a woman balancing a curvy thing on her head, 3) a spaceship landing pad, 4) a man in an orange cape with a shark fin on his head, firing a ray gun, 5) the Pope.

View the cover in all it's glory!

The novel lives up (or down) to the cover, and confirms Rachel's Law of Fictional Satanism: No serious novel containing Satanists has ever been good. (Good Omens is not serious.)

Conrad Bland is the most evil overlord who has ever eviled, eviling his way across the galaxy and killing millions and millions of people. Because he's evil. When he holes up on the obscure backwater Satanist planet Walpurgis III, the galactic government hires Jericho, the galaxy's best assassin, to take him out.

What makes this book especially... special... is that Resnick seems torn between seeing it as a ridiculous pulp thriller and a Very Serious Work tacking Very Important questions about the nature of evil. The problem here is twofold: 1) "What is the moral difference between a hit man and Hitler?" is not actually a very profound question; 2) These questions are being asked in the context of Planet of the Satanists.

The chapters are headed by quotes from Conrad Bland. Here's my two favorites:

There is a difference between refusing a helping hand and dismembering it. I would never refuse one.

If blood were green, then green would be my favorite color.

Meanwhile, the Planet of the Satanists gives Resnick excellent opportunities to drop constant and absurd references to random Satanic things, and also to display his lack of research. I note for his benefit that "voodoo," "witchcraft," and Hinduism are not forms of Satanism, nor related to Satanism in any way; the Goddess Kali is not spelled "Cali," and again, is not related to Satanism; and turnips are not heavily laden with religious symbolism in any religion that I'm aware of, though maybe their use in the Black Mass was supposed to be a joke.

The Planet of the Satanists is pretty entertaining reading, it's so hilariously over the top. Then we meet the Evil Overlord, and it gets pretty gross and much less fun. I know that all sorts of horrendous things go on in real life, but in fiction, it's very hard to suspend one's disbelief in the success of an Evil Overlord who kills his own minions constantly and at random.

There's an attempt toward the end at another Very Profound Question - "Is a cop who turns in criminals to be legally executed the moral equivalent of a hit man and a mass murderer?"

It took me approximately one nano-second of Profound Thought to answer, "No."
londonkds: (Bring back Bilis! (by redscharlach))

From: [personal profile] londonkds


The turnip thing suggests that he might actually be taking Jack Chick as a reliable source on pre-Christian european paganism.
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (satan was a lesbian)

From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid


There's a Planet of the Satanists?

I love this book already.
jonquil: (Default)

From: [personal profile] jonquil

Cover thought


That guy's upright penis is a man with a gun. Nodnod.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


If blood were green, then green would be my favorite color.

These quotes demand to be made into icons of suitable portentousness.
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)

From: [personal profile] oursin


No serious novel containing Satanists has ever been good.

Have you read Robert Irwin, Satan Wants Me? It's not serious in the sense of being po-faced, but it's not playing the thing for sheer comedy, either. Set in the summer of 68 (ish) and with a narrator whose reliability is really rather in doubt. It's a while since I read it, but I found it excellent at the time.

From: [identity profile] spectralbovine.livejournal.com


There is a difference between refusing a helping hand and dismembering it. I would never refuse one.

If blood were green, then green would be my favorite color.

AWESOME.

From: [identity profile] rurounitriv.livejournal.com


The only connection I can think of between turnips and religion/superstition is that the original jack-o-lanterns were made of hollowed-out turnips. So there's a rather tenuous link between the two, but man, this guy sounds like he's been reading way too much Jack Chick.

From: [identity profile] movingfinger.livejournal.com


Maybe Resnick just had something against turnips.

...Actually, that whole cover looks like a Jack Chick design, doesn't it! The eyeliner on Our Evil Overlord, especially so.

From: [identity profile] poilass.livejournal.com


If blood were green, then green would be my favorite color.

That is so wonderful I may have to put it on an icon. I just. I can't even, it is just so. Wow.
zdenka: Orange carp on a black background. "Oh, tree! Eat the fish!" (one of those days)

From: [personal profile] zdenka


Wow. I am awestruck at the depths of bad plot.

I love reading your book reviews!

From: [identity profile] movingfinger.livejournal.com


I have a filthy mind, because when I read "a hilarious Satanic person with two seals of Solomon on his person" I thought, "You know, the Seal of Solomon would make a great pastie design, wouldn't it."

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com


Is there such a thing as a five-pointed Seal of Solomon? I think those are just inverted pentagrams, which are, y'know, Evil.

Otherwise, spot-on.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


I think any star enclosed in a circle is technically a Seal of Solomon.

I... um... actually enjoyed this. In a very special way. Thanks!

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com


I think you're right. My brain is very fuzzy this week due to illness.

I thought you might appreciate this book's particular... qualities. And you are welcome. (At least I can properly recommend you bad books.)

From: [identity profile] lenora-rose.livejournal.com


I do hope this is one of the books Resnick has since disowned...

(He's said to say and do interesting things if presented with his first novel ever at signings)
.

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