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Book Reviews: Triggerfish Twist + The Movie Set + The Devil's Heart

Triggerfish Twist by Tim Dorsey
This 2003 novel is a prequel to the very first Serge novel ‘Florida Roadkill’. It is 1997 and Serge, Coleman and Sharon move into a nice neighbourhood as part of a scam. The Davenport clan have also moved in and so begins the cataclysmic descent of an ordinary street. Sharon is alienating, savage and uncaring. Coleman gets high a lot and Serge sees it as his civic agenda to kill those not on the morally correct course. Despite the whimsical tone and flippant style, there is a slow drip of sexism. This isn’t searing, expansive storytelling. Serge does a simulacrum of genuine introspection. There is glibness, raucousness and fateful decisions. But there is no dark glamour, raw fluency or unknowable internal logic. This was kitschifed crap and not a riveting drama.

Best Lines:
“They respectively majored in English, philosophy, English philosophy, French poetry, art history, and no declared major, and they all expected to and easy high-paying jobs immediately after graduation without trying.”

“The falling out with the previous tenant had been particularly nasty. Serge stared down at the carpet, where obscenities had been written with hydrochloric acid. Off to the side, an old bloodstain had been worked on with bleach.”

“Where’d you learn that?”

“All the windows had been nailed shut and aluminium foil Super Glued to the glass.”

“Most are ex-cons or junkies or deranged from inbreeding. Five have died violently, three are back in prison, two have gone insane from untreated venereal disease, and one writes book reviews.”

The Movie Set by June Flaum Singer
This 1985 novel sees 5 nice girls start out in life, but nice girls don’t survive in the movie set. 5 bizarrely named girls meet at college in the 60s. They go on to make bad horrible marriages, bad horrible choices, suffer cruel divorce trials, domestic violence, illness, diseases, misunderstandings, bizarre sex, interactions with Howard Hughes, destructive hangers on and a warped relationship with Hollywood. This has self-martyrdom, arson, histrionics, social climbing and is bottom shelf trash. I read it in 5 hours while sick off school once.

Star Trek The Next Generation: The Devil’s Heart by Carmen Carter
This 1994 novel sees Picard come into possession of a mythical artefact that everybody wants. People act out of character. Picard is addled and distracted by the artefact and acts in self-indulgent ways. This instability is not unprecedented.  Worf does blunt coercions and dominance. Picard turns into an animalic Gollum, Worf is an implacable ass and people talk in ways both mannered and blank.

The artefact provokes both awe and bewilderment, but its powers seem both fantastical and illusory. This was theatrical but unmemorable. There is no clear narrative just well-rehearsed ennui, strong responses and no oozing menace. Picard acts miserable, sulky, desperate and avariciously ambitious. This prompts disaffection. This was a plain unpalatable, uninteresting, silly read.

This belongs in the ranks of naff ‘Star Trek’ novels like ‘Best Destiny’, ‘Spock’s World’, ‘The Wounded Sky’, ‘The Tears Of The Singers’, ‘The Vulcan Academy Murders’, ‘Ishmael’, ‘Killing Time’, ‘Pawns and Symbols’, ‘Battlestations!’, ‘Chain of Attack’, ‘The IDIC Epidemic’, Time Trap’, ‘Vulcan’s Glory’, ‘The Cry of the Onlies’, ‘The Rift’, ‘Ice Trap’, ‘Death Count’, ‘Shell Game’, ‘The Great Starship Race’, ‘The Big Game’, ‘Descent’, ‘Metamorphosis’, ‘Vendetta’ and the ‘Rebels’ trilogy.

Best Lines:
“Much of the knowledge brought from Iconia was lost forever as precious books were burned as fuel. A few of the elders fought to save those relics; they were burned as well.”

“I begin to see why it has such morbid names.”

“I do not fear the dead, but neither do I seek out their company.”

“Who am I to come between a man and his rock?”

“She walled herself up alive rather than let the Ko N’Ya fulfil its destiny.”

“I can rake the Pagrashrak from out of the rubble of your blasted ship and the corpses of your dead crew.”

“This fleeting channel into another galaxy was gone, and it would not return for another five thousand years.”
Tags: book review, star trek

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