Wordy Wednesdays – Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb (Part 2)

Okay, so I really didn’t like Bimbos of the Death Sun. Here’s an assortment of other issues I had with it, aside from last week’s post.

Here’s that fucking cover again.

So the climax of the book is a session of a role-playing game in which the murderer is called out. Surprise! It’s the guy who was obsessed with Appin Dungannon’s novels. The murderer is famous in the convention world because he always dresses up as Tratyn Runewind, the main character of Appin’s books. If Appin is dead, who gains the most? This fuckin’ kid, that’s who, because then he can just be Tratyn Runewind. There won’t be more novels to compete with. His fame is secured.

To be fair, the novel never calls itself a murder mystery. I had assumed there would be some kind of detective work to uncover the murderer. That’s on me. So what is this book? Well, it isn’t much. McCrumb takes us through her biased vision of a sci-fi and fantasy convention. Then a murder happens, then the murder is solved.

It’s dull.

Oh, except the part where Jay keeps pushing at the murderer until the kid goes panic-crazy and attacks people with a sword, then accidentally kills himself. How noble Jay is, provoking a clearly imbalanced young man over the edge to reveal him as a murderer! Of course, Jay has to do this because the cops are goddamn morons who couldn’t crime-solve their way out of the Manson family.

“Nah Sarge, he seemed like an okay guy to me.”

And Jay is technically the hero here. We are supposed to root for him.

Oh, right, remember how Jay is here because he wrote a hard sci-fi novel? The best part is Jay’s pen name. His real name is Jay O. Mega, and his pen name is Jay Omega. So anonymous! Did you see what McCrumb did there? If you didn’t, well holy shit you idiot, maybe you’ll love this book. She took the first letter of his middle name and made it the first letter of his last name! Now he is totally hidden and no one will ever solve the mystery of who wrote his book. I think the real mystery in Bimbos is how everyone could be so fucking stupid.

Another thing – yeah, they just keep coming – everyone in this book is a shitty person. They all make snide comments about the convention goers. They all think they are better than these people, and we are supposed to agree with them. It is so apparent that the author just couldn’t resist putting these little jabs in the book, like she thinks these ‘jokes’ are just too good for us not to hear. But these jabs make every character feel like the same awful person; the kind of person that makes your jaw clench when you see them.

Just clenched your teeth, didn’t you?

Right at the start, I thought I liked some of the characters. The two guys running the convention seemed as though they would develop together nicely, as over-worked and much-harried problem solvers. But they don’t. No one in this book develops. They are all the same characters at the end, having learned nothing of value and having changed in no relevant ways. Appin is the worst offender.

Yeah let’s talk about Appin. He doesn’t change at all; he’s the author who hates his fan-base, to the point where he sometimes throws folding chairs at them. He insults them during a speech, is openly antagonistic, and even deliberately signs the wrong name at a book-signing.

And he’s the most likable character in the book.

Well, he’s at least the most believable. It’s because he is honestly terrible. There are certainly shitty people who create something, and then hate the people who like what they’ve created. Appin feels superior to his fan-base. So superior that he feels as though he can treat them like shit – and he can. They won’t abandon him because he writes their favorite novels. He abuses them because they let him. It felt genuine and real. With no other genuine character to turn to, I had to look to Appin to be my favorite character.

There’s another okay character, but I have no idea why he’s in the novel. There’s a famous Scottish folk singer staying in the same hotel that the convention is in. He just sort of hangs around. He doesn’t contribute anything to the convention, or to the murder investigation. In fact he contributes nothing to the book. Anything from his point of view or focusing mostly on him felt like filler. It really felt like McCrumb had signed a contract to write a two-hundred page novel about sci-fi/fantasy conventions, and then just jammed this folk singer in to pad out the novel.

It’s like if James Taylor was in Star Wars or Firefly.

Overall, my opinion of Bimbos of the Death Sun is this: it felt like the author had to produce a two-hundred page book, so she pushed this particular piece of shit out and handed it over. And I’ll tell you, it could have used a lot more polishing, even if it got the author’s hands dirty.

Please don’t read Bimbos of the Death Sun.

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About seansynthetic

"...so I says the the guy, I says to him, 'No, YOU ain't allowed back into this Chuck-E-Cheese.'"

Posted on November 14, 2012, in Wordy Wednesdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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