Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bad Monkeys

I've just finished Matt Ruff's Bad Monkeys, a mere twelve hours after checking it out from the library. (Hey, it's only a little over 200 pages, and I missed my bus home.)

The novel struck me as a cross between Daniel Handler's The Basic Eight and Robert Rankin's Brightonomicon. Which is probably completely unhelpful unless you've got my exact reading habits. Other folks have compared it to Philip K. Dick and Thomas Pynchon, if that helps. (There are explicit parallels to Philip K. Dick that I missed upon reading, but discovered through others' reviews. I'll leave them for you to discover on your own.) It also reminded me of some of the more surreallistically paranoid interactive fiction I've played (specifically, "Little Blue Men").

I'm not sure what to make of the ending - I'm going to keep this spoiler-free. I thought things weren't wrapped up as tightly as they could have been - Ruff took the Philip K. Dick/Alfred Bester tack of having the world unravel, rather than the more Serlingesque (Shyamalanesque?) approach of shining the harsh light of objectivity over the proceedings, a revelation that typically requires you to go back in order to catch all the clues you missed first time around.

This goes onto my list of books that I'd recommend to everyone on the basis of their criminal underexposure, joining Adam Cadre's Ready, Okay!, The Basic Eight, and Ruff's own Set This House In Order.

Next up: Clifford Chase's Winkie.

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