Saturday, June 07, 2008

How I Conquered Your Planet

by John Swartzwelder
You won't find Swartzwelder's goofy-ass novels at your local Barnes & Nobles. They're self-published, with bland covers and big type, and they're not exactly high literature. They are, however, written by the guy who wrote more Simpsons episodes than anyone else, and his brand of so-stupid-it's-genius comedy is immediately recognizable. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in How I Conquered Your Planet that I became the crazy guy on the bus, randomly bursting into mad giggles. Sorry, fellow bus riders.

The absurd plot involves a bus driver / private eye named Frank Burly, who is not, shall we say, all that bright. When the Martians arrive, disguised as magicians, and work their mind-control upon him, Frank is recruited, against his flimsy will, into the Martian military. Most of this seems to be an excuse for Swartzwelder to brilliantly play with time-honored cliches in several genres. Not an easy book to recommend, but if you enjoy clever, absurdist, stoopid-funny writing, definitely check this out.

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