Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Reviews Of Books I've Never Read

A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin
Few people know it was actually Heckle and Jeckle, their hilarious antics and love of corn-on-the-cob that were the main inspiration for Mr. Martin's writing of this magnificent tome.
First off, I know I should have begun with the first book in Mr. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Game of Thrones, but I have an aversion to the word "thrones" plus I found this fourth volume of the series left behind in a bus shelter, albeit a little soggy and with a used condom that was either used for a bookmark or else carelessly thrown in post-coital haste that strikes those who engage in urban outdoor sex. The fact that it landed between the pages of this book is one of those eternal mysteries. Why do I have an aversion to the word "thrones" you might ask. Well, number one, if the word is not pluralized I have no problem at all. Throne is fine, but "thrones" causes me to break out in hives. I asked my good friend and fellow associate, Dr. Mitford Peebler, (although he doesn't practice anymore after a liposuction accident in Minnesota that forced him to flee the state and find a new vocation as a plumber in Regina), what is the connection between the word "thrones" and my hives? And why, if the word is not pluralized, do I only get a few sniffles and a bit of bleeding from the ears, which really, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing because I can get that just from watching The Price Is Right with my landlady. Dr. Peebler, after some quick counseling over the phone, interrupted only by the sound of dropping quarters and the operator's incessant nagging, informed me that the whole "throne phobia thingamajig" as he so aptly coined it, stemmed from an early childhood memory of me sitting on Santa's knee and being terrified, not by the red-suited and heavily bearded man who's breath smelled like urinal pucks, but by the huge seat he sat upon, a throne as my guardian for the afternoon described it, and which I still associate to this day, with a figure of authority who runs a dwarf factory. "Yes," I exclaimed to Dr. Peebler. "But that's throne in the singular and it's only the pluralized word that bothers me. How do you explain that?" Dr. Peebler chuckled with the simplicity of it all and then I heard a choking sound followed by a gurgling and then the line went dead. I'm sure his explanation would've been fascinating but I imagine he was called away on some important plumbing business. Anyway, I have no problem with the word "crow," singular or plural so I knew I was going to enjoy this read. Now, Mr. Martin is renowned for his highly detailed and convincingly drawn up worlds, castles in the sky so to speak, except these ones are on the ground and full of really repulsive people most of the time. He has a tribe called the Bloodwarts, another called The Knights of Bladder Leaks and an ancient king in the land of Vigorador who waits to be vanquished by the Falubian People, who live deep in the forest of Schnutzschnutz and have exploding feces, which they use to knock down the ramparts and barricades of the Castle of Hipskebob. This guy's imagination knows no bounds and not even a chain link fence and a couple of cans of pepper spray could stop his Hounds of Fermentathol, methinks. Although it did stop me during an altercation with some dumpster divers behind a factory and a Smithrite full of recently spoiled McCain Deep'n'Delicious cakes.
A rare photo of the enigmatic and rarely photographed author, taking a well-deserved break from writing his hefty tomes. It's amazing such large works come from such a small man, but some critics have claimed he writes so much simply to accommodate  for his diminutive size. Although, judging from the way he fills out a thong, not all things on this man are as tiny as they might seem. Ladies, be forewarned. The King of Glornworth might play upon you much like minstrels upon your fallopian tubes and his hose is better used for something more than filling a kiddie pool.
On the silverfish killing front, never fear, because all of Mr. Martin's books are extraordinarily thick and put together, perhaps with masking tape or twine you've saved from one of your taxidermy experiments, entire civilizations of these repugnant vermin can be wiped out with one strike. And singly, each book can at least destroy a silverfish city. But in this case, I'm only concerned with one volume, A Feast For Crows, but I could pretty much say it's not only crows who would enjoy this feast. I enjoyed it for one but I also think it could be a feast for manatees, home insurance salesmen, cell-phone manufacturing plant workers, carnival employees (especially those who work the Tilt'a'Whirl) and even endangered marmosets who are known to be finicky eaters, at least after their habitats have been razed. And although some of the descriptions of battles and murders and villagers defecating and milking emaciated goats might stick in your craw, Mr. Martin's attention to detail makes these disgusting and horrific details necessary to bring reality to his imaginary realms.
It's goat-milking techniques such as these that Mr. Martin describes so aptly, leaving little to the imagination so that the imagination may run free, much like some of the goats that escape the clutches of the defecating villagers so that they may again feed upon the green, green grass of Vongortalflob in the foothills of the Plorky Mountains.
Is there a plot at work amongst all these nefarious dealings? You better believe it though you'd be hard-pressed to find it but that's exactly Mr. Martin's intentions. By creating so many different worlds and characters and the horses that these characters ride when say, they journey from the Forest of Niblung to the River of of Zortoz, not to mention the dogs they like to eat along the way, a kind of literary subterfuge is employed so that before you can finish milking an emaciated goat the dwarfs of Glockensputz are upon you, raping your womenfolk and stealing your strudel. And you are living every moment through the words, as if you are really there and being raped by a dwarf or eating crow brain stew with the Secret Society of Knights of Dungshire while being nuzzled by a a ram in rutting season. So, the Niblungians go to war with the raping dwarf army of Borflindiog, led by their evil queen, Hamstring Fenestra, whose only wish is to produce a child to take over her monarchy even though her womb is as barren as a recently logged hillside. For this pursuit she has set her sights upon the hapless knight, Sir Eyre Titsshmitzfelton, who harkens from Zugmudder's Landing, a tiny nation known for its decorative gourd production that are used in the Festival of Calderean, the one-eyed god of war and butter churning and who is worshiped by the neighbouring village of Ingmanbrootvanhoofen, as the menfolk spill their seed into the emptied gourds, which is then used to douse their womenfolk and poultry before the men are whipped into a frenzy and go pillaging nearby villages and towns and the women baste fat white worm larvae in the blood of she-goats to prepare for the return of the marauding men and bring bounty to their gourd-growing season.
As this nefarious plot unfolds, three-hundred miles away as the crow flies over the carnage of the Gorvilian Tentacle Zombies under the Order of King Leopold Gwenavere Humphreys, a beautiful princess by the name of Lady Melanoma is being kidnapped by Vishtmar, the seer of the Hairy Tree Tribe, who, when not foraging for roots, nuts and berries, like to mate with humans to produce golden-haired offspring which they then sell to various caravan travelers who make their way along the Old Mutton Trader's Route.
Members of the George R. R. Martin Fan Club, the Saskatoon Chapter, re-enact the kidnapping of Lady Melanoma by Vishtmar, seer of the Hairy Tree People in the Forest of Enchanted Charred Pork Rinds.
As if these intrigues weren't enough, Mr. Martin further complicates the plot with the arrival of the warriors of Moldor, known for their high stink emanating from their unwashed flesh and the colourful war paint they decorate their testicles with. Looking to expand their territory to the east, they ally with the Gorvilian Tentacle Zombies and traveling by camel back, they are able to cross the Desert of Blattsworth, sucking the water from their camels' humps to survive the arid wasteland and using strips of dried wolf livers (a technique they picked up from the ancient Argolians whose eyes were actually located on their knees) to protect their eyes from the blistering sandstorms.
Argolian war-strike position. Notice the knees begin to bend down low, giving greater sight-lines to the Argolian warriors as their eyes are now closer to the ground, encased in the knee cavity and should their head get lopped off, they are still able to see their enemy.
Needless to say a massive and bloody battle ensues between so many factions and villages and tribes I lost track not long after I removed my bookmark and soon had to place a cold ham steak to my head as a restive from all the plot-twists and action. I'll say this. The book should really be called A Feast For Crow's Eyes because that's what you'll have by the time you finish this thing. Your life will fly by. It clocks in at a whopping 1060 pages and that's not counting the various maps at the beginning illustrating the many lands Mr. Martin's creations live or scavenge upon. And like a good Hollywood producer, but using words instead of wampum, Mr. Martin leaves plenty of breathing space in his finale to suggest not quite a cliffhanger, but more like a castle rampart hanging ending as the Great Bulgogi, sage to King Mitzi of Grandgloomen, foresees in his magic crystal sphere the invasion of the City of the Three Ugly Sister of Hamentashen by the Imperial Army of Floofenspire, led by Prince Guttock, he of the baboon-hued buttocks and penchant for one-eyed virgins in canoes.
Here, another Song of Ice and Fire fan, Dwight Vonder of the Sudbury Chapter, plays the part of the Great Bulgogi predicting the invasion of the city of the Three Ugly Sisters of Hamentashen.
If there's anything you'll take away from this book it's Mr. Martin proving the old adage "you can't go home again," because if you do the dwarf-raping, brain-sucking, intestine-eating, tentacle-wrapping
Legion of the Gritrilion Mobobos will get you, performing all the above actions upon your person as well as peeing in your bouillabaisse.  
These Gritrilion Mobobos that make their entrance near the end of the book may look benevolent at first glance but don't be fooled by their lustrous hair and circle of admiring baby heads. Beneath their robes are hidden their poisonous tentacles and they'd just as soon suck the brains from your skull as give you the time of day or babysit your family pet. Notice they have no compunction about using baby heads as footstools.
All I can say is this book is almost Falstaffian in its Caesarian ways and by Caesarian I don't mean the salad or the emergency birthing procedure but more along the Ides of March, but in this case, closer to the gales of November when the great north wind blows across Lake Superior and the barking of wayward sea otters drives mariners mad with fear and desire. Et tu, Mr. Martin, et tu.