That Darn Squid God
by Nick Pollotta & James Clay
Review by Drew Bittner
Double Dragon Publishing Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781554045198
Date: 25 December 2007 List Price $19.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Adventurers Professor Felix Einstein and his comrade, Lord Carstairs, are in a sticky wicket: the moon is rotating to show its hidden face to the Earth, heralding the rise of the dreaded Squid God. Cultists are running amuck, the pillars of civilization are a-tremble and, well, it's becoming difficult to keep a stiff upper lip.
Unless Einstein and Carstairs can get to the murky heart of this damnable business, however, a stiff upper lip may be the very least of their problems.
In That Darn Squid God, Nick Pollotta and James Clay serve up a light-hearted pastiche of Victorian heroics mashed up with Lovecraftian horror. Einstein is the cynical veteran scientist-hero, while Carstairs is the noble naif, yet together they make this oddball partnership work.
After a quest to find a Biblical artifact ends in an unsatisfactory fashion, the duo discover--amid portents that put the seven plagues to shame--that the Squid God is primed to emerge from his sub-aquatic crypt. This simply is not to be tolerated, they vow, and set off on a global scavenger hunt, hoping to find what they need to keep him safely under the Atlantic depths.
It is a search that will take them from the Vatican to an infamous (and supernatural) sailing ship and even to the Bermuda Triangle itself, prior to a fateful showdown with nefarious antagonists galore--who have had their share of travails, what with haggling over proper sacrifices and choosing where and how to crush civilization. They may even settle some petty feuds in the process.
In the end, it will take human ingenuity (aided by some alien technology) to confront the Squid God. But that's what saving the world is all about, in the end--a gamble of impossible odds, laughing in the face of death and having that last cup of tea. Ah well. All in a day's work.
Pollotta and Clay have created a fun and fast-paced adventure, chock full of humor and Easter eggs for fans of 19th century science fiction. Einstein and Carstairs are terrific heroes, ably supported by the lovely Mary and Katrina (the professor's niece and cook, respectively); it would be wonderful to see them in a sequel adventure.
The cultists are less individual but just as fun, representing all that is more-than-slightly off about such characters in adventure fiction. Pollotta and Clay elevate the comedic level whenever they are "on screen." And, of course, the mysterious high priest has several of the book's best lines.
Hard as anything written to put into a category, this novel--a parody of Victorian science fiction and adventure, with heavy doses of humor and horror both--is sure to attract more and more fans with every printing. Although it was published in 2007, the Squid God is always ready for new worship-- I mean, readers.
Umm, I have personally not been to the moon and not seen Albert Einstein there and when I didn't go and didn't see him, he told me it hpapened a little differently than that.