Due to circumstances I'll call beyond my control, I didn't get a copy of John Olson's Shade, which looks like my loss. However, instead of rolling over and playing dead, I decided to call upon my inner lunatic—basically a smaller edition of my outer lunatic—and write a Genuine Fake Review. To help me in this scheme, I have procured Shade proper: after all, every writer's work is his baby, and even a new release can scream and puke on you a lot, so I got a job as Olson's babysitter.
What a sucker!
Bye, Mr. Olson! Don't forget to write!
(That's an old author's joke. Fortunately, most old authors are deaf and can't hear it.)
Anyway, on with the farce:
Hailey Maniates is a grad student in biochemistry. She's a no-nonsense sort, which I take as a personal affront. Worse yet, she's working in her lab late one night, trying to find the cause of and cure for sequels.
She must be stopped.
Suddenly a monster pops out of my bag of tricks, uttering a phrase that will horrify any decent human being: "Hope and Change!" Yes, it's not just a monster, it's a monster with a bad diaper! Reeling under the olfactory onslaught, Hailey bolts from the lab and into a chase sequence.
Just when things look hopeless, she is saved by a tall, dark, mumbling hero—it seems Tarzan is moonlighting. Hoping to save Hubba-Hubba, the Grad Student, the Jungle Lord prepares to beat the Kreegah Bundolo out of Mulo, the Monster, but he is thwarted by Icki-Yucki, the Used Diaper.
But before we can announce a casting call for a new hero, a dumpster pops open, revealing—well, someone who can do in a pinch. It's another shambling giant, this time named Melchi. That's short for Melchizedek, but it's also a very descriptive adjective that just happens to have avoided capture in a dictionary. Like the biblical Melchizedek, our new hero is without father or mother, etc., which means he's used to unchanged diapers. Calling upon his higher faculty of low cunning, he tells Mulo his shoelace is untied, then punts him into the dumpster.
Then things take a seriously horrifying turn: yes, it's an Exposition Break.
Hailey: Who are you?
Melchi: I'm Melchi.
Hailey: I said "who," not "what." And what was that thing that was chasing me?
Melchi: That's hard to explain, especially because this whole thing is supposed to keep readers guessing. So I'll only give vague hints and an occasional bit of coherent, useful information. For example, the monster's called Mulo. It's... Well, have you seen Mulan?
Melchi: Totally different. No comparison, really.
Hailey: Is that all you do? Maybe I should check back with Tarzan.
Melchi: Wait! Haven't you sensed the strange synergy between us? It's like you can read my mind, right?
Hailey: Yes, and in case you can't read mine, I carry pepper spray. It's not as effective as a loaded diaper, but—
Melchi: Just being with me gives you strange new powers!
Hailey: Like what?
Melchi: Could you belch "Louie, Louie" before?
Hailey: Ooh, my head! Is it the fumes or the hallucinogenic writing?
Melchi: She's fainted! Great—I can take her to a hospital and vanish mysteriously so she'll be even more confused. That should help the reader identify with her.
Hailey: What happened? Where am I?
Doctor: Easy, ma'am. You're at the hospital. I'm Dr. Howard; doctors Howard and Fine will be along in a moment.
Hailey: How'd I get here?
Doctor: I could say a mysterious giant left you here and vanished at the stroke of midnight, but I'm not going to commit myself. Others are doing that. But this was left behind as well.
Hailey: Is it...?
Doctor: I'm afraid so: a glass diaper. Completely impractical, but as smelly as the real thing.
John Olson: Hey, Bunky! How's it going? I got halfway there before I realized I'd forgotten my keys. It's amazing how fast you can run when you think you're in a car. Hey, what're you doing with Shade? You're changing it!
Steve, aka Bunky: That's my hope...
Olson: Well, that's my baby, and I'm taking it with me, Bunky—if that is your name.
Steve: But the blog's not over yet! Shade can't go! I mean, you, fine, but... No! Wait! Shade! Shade! Come back!
Spoilsport. Oh, well, for the biased views of people who've actually read the book, you can check out the other posts on the CSFF blog tour:
CSFF Blog Tour
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
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