Sunday, August 3, 2008

Chion: A Genuine Fake Review

This month CFRB is doing Darryl Sloan's Chion (also available as a free download here). Even though I did read the book, I still decided to do a quasi-fake review for reasons I'll explain later.

The genuine plot (no fakery here) involves the idea that snow has been somehow altered into superglue. I grew up in Alaska, so I'm not too impressed: we generally talked about getting "snow that sticks" in October, and it would be there until at least late April. In Chion, the snow sticks to more than wickets and is impervious to heat. No one seems to think of throwing salt on it for some reason.

Anyway, I'm writing a Genuine Fake Review for two reasons: first, I didn't think I'd have time to read the book, so I promised the others that I'd settle for a GFR, despite all their threats and pleading to the contrary. I'm pleased to say, however, that the book is not the usual several hundred pages of bloat some writers like to turn out. Second, even after reading the book, I thought there was something missing. You see, we never get an outright explanation of how the snow went bad.

(MINOR SPOILER!) Though terrorists are strongly suggested for the role, none shows up. I mean, sure the story's set in a small Irish town (specifically Portadown, Irish for "portajohn"), and all the important terrorists are off schmoozing in London and Dublin and chatting with Obama on the phone. (He immediately chides them for their "over the top" practical joke.) But they could still drop a sock puppet with a sign that says, "Greetings, Infidels! My name is Achmed, and I'll be your terrorist today!" After all, the main reason jihadists would have for sabotaging snow would be to disarm all the kids who would pelt them with snowballs, for which the jihadists have little or no natural defense. But if no terrorists show up, we might as well blame it on pixies or something. So...

Jamie stiffened. "Do you hear that? It must be another helicopter!"
Tara looked out the window. "No, it's... By Jove!"
"Buy gum!"
"It's cheaper. Seriously, have you priced Jove lately?"
"Look! It's a flying oil well! And it's dropping a guy on a camel!"
As the two watched, the camel's hump popped open, deploying a chute. Moments later camel and rider landed in an oily heap just outside the window. How convenient.
"Allahu Akhbar?" the rider asked.
"Isn't that an exclamation?" Jamie retorted.
"No, I'm offering you one of our new Allahu Akhbars. It's like a nutroll, but with more oil and nuts. We're diversifying."
"But why are you even here? Why aren't you in a larger town?"
"Two reasons: first, when this is written up as a book, I believe the author will set the story here in Portadown."
"Second, we forgot to build a portajohn on that fershlugginer flying oil well, so I was kinda stuck."
"You're also stuck here: you landed right in the snow."
"Not so: if you listened to your boffin explaining how this works, you would have noticed that he said a solid is required for the snow to stick. The camel's feet and undercarriage are covered with oil, which isn't a solid. So there." The camel promptly lost its footing again.
"Are you sure that's practical?"
"I have a better idea: I'll call in the guy who fixed the snow for us. He can unfix it for me."
A small man pinged into view, covered in icicles. "Don't tell me: you forgot to cover yourself with oil as well as the camel."
"It makes me slide all over."
"I know. It's great fun to watch."
Jamie decided the dialog had been hijacked long enough. "Wait! You're Jack Frost, aren't you? Why'd you help the terrorists?"
"I got bored nipping at people's noses and decided to glue them down instead. Just a change."
But then Tara, forgotten by pretty much everybody, ran to the window and tossed some salt at the sprite. "Season's greetings, Jack!" she called.
Faster than you can say, "I'm melting! Melting!" Jack and the snow disappeared.
The rider glared at the ground. Then he shrugged. "Anticlimactic, but as long as we're here, anyone want some cheap oil?"

Instead of the usual string of related blogs, we're using buttons now. I apologize: I originally liked the idea, but now I find they aren't shiny. Try them anyway.


cathikin said...

Personally, I was suspecting a rogue leprechaun had teamed up with some terrorist group. Now salt is a really interesting idea. Funny, as always. I think I look forward to your GFRs more than anyoe's real ones.

David said...

Buddy, you just can't help yourself, can you? But that's what makes your "Genuine Fake Reviews" so special. Great job Steve.

Caprice Hokstad said...

Well, no one said they were supposed to be shiny! You need to speak up next time. Now you're stuck with dull buttons. Better than being stuck in the snow.

Grace Bridges said...

Huh? lol. No idea what you're trying to say, but it's very funny...

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