16 September 2006

Books of 2006, part 12: Gil's All Fright Diner

Gil's All Fright Diner
A. Lee Martinez
In what could be the start of a potential series of novels, A. Lee Martinez Gil’s All Fright Diner jumps into the world mined by the late Douglas Adams. But instead of poking fun of science fiction, the author takes on the horror genre. Here’s a universe where a vampire named Earl and a werewolf named Duke travel together and where, after stopping off in a one stop sign town of Rockwood, encounter it being overtaken by zombies.

At first reluctant to help, they become involved with Loretta -who is running Gil’s All Night Diner after the mysterious disappearance of Gil - and Sherif Kopp to find out why the zombies find Gil’s so interesting.

Along the way, they encounter Tammy (AKA Lilith, Queen of Night) and her dopy boyfriend, Chad. Tammy needs to get into Gil’s, but now that Loretta has Earl and Duke, her plans to take over the world become more complicated. But when Earl becomes distracted by an amorous ghost, Tammy sets in motion her dreaded plan. Only if her dad and school work doesn’t interfere.


During the heyday of the 1980's when I read many humorous fantasy novels, not much came close to the brilliance of Douglas Adams. Piers Anthony came near enough, but after the sixth Xanth novel, the series became dull and lifeless, with way too many puns. And I never like how he jumped ahead in the Xanth universe, regulating most of my favorite characters to cameos. Robert Asprin’s Myth series I liked, but found the series running quickly out of ideas, which included a brief bout of writers block by the author that effected the series in general - beyond his later battles with tax’s and his ex-wife.

This novel works like the Buffy and Angel universe, with jokes and one-liners between some good ideas. But I must becoming cynical in my older age, as I found the book funny, but nothing as brilliant as the all the Adams work. But then, what could?

I guess while the book is entertaining and worth the price, its just not as original. Which is what is wrong on TV, the movies and books. But I watch and, occasionally, read. That maybe why I’m drawn more and more these days to non-fiction and why I still have a desire to re-read such books as the entire Lord of the Rings series for the umpteenth time.

Of the fantasy genre I used to love so much 20 years ago, I’m finding no one interesting to read. There is Tad Williams, maybe. The Robert Jordan endless Wheel of Time series lost me around the end of book 3 and the so horrible I never finished it book 4. Harry Potter is still good, and have been tempted to go back an re-read the entire first 6 books.

I have a box or more of books I’ve yet to read. Sometimes, I feel I wouldn’t mind being the Bergess Meredith character Henry Bennis in that Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last. Of course, I don’t want a nuclear war to come, but it would be great to be able to put a year or two away of no worries of money food and housing and just read all the books I’ve yet to get to sitting in storage and the ones on the book shelves I’ve yet to buy.

After all, I still have that Confederacy of Dunces to read. I’m just glad I don’t need glasses to read.

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