Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Sun Jul 14 16:46:28 EDT 1991

Raymond's Reviews #116

%T Mutants Amok #1 & 2
%A Mark Grant
%I Avon
%D March 1991
%O paperback, US$2.95
%P 224/224
%G 0-380-76047-9/0-380-76048-7

Are you familiar with the underground fantasy epic "Eye of Argon"? At science-fiction conventions, fans hold contests to see how long they can read this bombastic, cliche-bound and typo-ridden manuscript aloud, with feeling, before laughter overcomes them. Well, that is what Mark Grant's "Mutants Amok" books are like -- except that some curmudgeonly editor has apparently cleaned up the typos before publication in a misguided attempt to squelch the fun. If you are unfamiliar with "Eye of Argon," a few significant details will convey the awesome awfulness of Mr. Grant's work. Consider, if you dare:

THE PREMISE. Worthy of a 1950's Hollywood monster movie. Ugly but powerful mutants originally designed by the military-industrial complex have managed to enslave normal humanity. Our protagonists are among the few brave humans fighting the "muties" as part of an underground human resistance movement.

THE POLITICS. Politically incorrect. Explicit and gratuitous descriptions of gore abound. The women, who are all large-breasted and gorgeous, inevitably get killed, need to be rescued, or turn out to be some kind of monsters themselves.

THE LANGUAGE. In the hands of the average hack, the trite premise of "Mutants Amok" would, at worst have resulted in yet another forgettable sf adventure series. Unlike the average hack, however, Mr. Grant is cursed with a tin ear for language -- whence lies most of the (unintended) humor of "Mutants Amok." For example, where but in the cheesiest of space operas might a reader be assaulted by lines like these on virtually every page: "Blood spurted and calcium sprayed. All in all it smelled like a bad day at the dentist's office." (Mutants Amok, p. 3).
"It [the hero's girlfriend's orgasm] felt like I [banged a hole through the floor] and fell straight through it to the ground and then went to heaven! Oh, Jack! I want to have your babies!" (Mutants Amok, p. 106).
"Your work with the rebels has been -- shall we call it annoying? Yes, that is a suitable word, I think. Annoying. I have lost sleep, wishing you were here so that I might have the satisfaction of whipping you with my mane as a horse does, or swatting you with my tail as a whale does its tiny troubler." (Mutant Hell, p. 19).

These monstrous similes, please note, are original. Mr. Grant is one of the few authors ever published who is at his best when he rises to the level of spouting hoary cliches.

PLAUSIBILITY. Nonexistent. How humanity was ever enslaved by creatures as stupid as these mutants allegedly are remains a mystery. Mr. Grant's lame explanation is that the mutants turned on humanity after embracing a bushido-like creed called "The Way."

Should we urge Mr. Grant to stop churning out this vile trash? Perish the thought! Readers who laughed themselves sick over Eye of Argon will enjoy these books -- in the same manner, and for the same reasons. Moreover, sale of the movie rights to Mutants Amok might even be a consummation to be wished. Lurking in these turgid novels is ample inspiration for a cult classic of badness rivaling the infamous Plan Nine from Outer Space. [Guest reviewer: Cathy Olanich]

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Sun Jul 14 16:46:28 EDT 1991

Eric S. Raymond <esr@snark.thyrsus.com>