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Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Go, Mutants!

Go, Mutants!, Larry Doyle, Ecco Books, 2010

Earth has survived numerous invasions by aliens and attacks by ancient monsters brought back to life. Some of these aliens are in high school.

J!m Anderson is your typical sullen, brooding teenager at Manhattan High School. Well, maybe he's not so typical, because he has a large, megacephalic head, and oily, blue skin which he occasionally sheds like a snake. Along with Johnny, a motorcycle-riding radioactive ape, and Larry, a gelatinous mass playing the role of the "fat kid" (Son of the Blob), J!m really does have a hard time making his way through the world of high school. Maybe people really are out to get him; after all, his father is the one who led the alien invasion of Earth.

The Harvest Dance is coming, and J!m is supposed to ask Marie Rand if she would like to go with him. Her father is the school's biology teacher, and one of those people who likes to tinker in his garage. Mrs. Rand is a disembodied head who is constantly nagging Mr. Rand to find a body to which to attach her head. The body she was using is no longer viable, but it's kept in a freezer for posterity. Despite numerous opportunities, J!m never gets around to asking Maries to the dance, so she goes with Russ, J!m's bitter enemy.

J!m has a permanent exemption from showering after gym class, for anatomical reasons that are forcefully revealed by the local bullies, led by Russ, at the local drive-in. Later, during another Russ-led attempt to get rid of J!m, once and for all, J!m catches on fire, is severely burned, and dies. But not really, because he recovers in a couple of days, and is now a solar-powered being with skin as hard as diamonds (puberty rears its ugly head).

Larry is thrown into an animal cage during a field trip. Approximately a cupful of his mass is retrieved. Mr. Rand is able to do something about that, with help from some jumper cables and a car battery. Later comes the climactic scene, where Russ forces Marie into his atomic-powered car, with J!m in hot pursuit. Just before the car goes over a cliff, Marie is thrown from the car, and severely injured. Does Marie survive? Does J!m learn the truth about his father? Can Larry be resurrected?

This is an absolute gem of a book. As a former writer for "The Simpsons," Doyle certainly knows how to do satire. It's got everything a 1950s teen story needs: a sullen, rebellious main character, bullies, a chase scene and a drive-in. This is very highly recommended. 

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