Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Missionary Position, by Bruce Dickinson


(pb; 1992: out of print sequel to The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace)

From the back cover:

". . . Lord Iffy (a decaying and grotesque aristocrat with a taste for stilleto heels and at thirty-five still a virgin) rides again. Disguised as a clergyman, he travels to California accompanied by his faithful butler (he of the Pelvotron Sex Machine) and the partially chewed body of a deceased ancestor to meet the holy hit man Reverend Jimmy Reptile, the United States' most successful TV evangelist. There unfolds an epi-saga, which introduces such alluring characters as Sister Hyapatia Comebody, Mine's A Large One, Senator Standing Johns and Ballripper, and which climaxes in the hold of a medical waste disposal ship. . ."

Review:

Dickinson ups the hilarity, spectacle and raunch factor in this second Lord Iffy book. The frenetic pace, splattery and unpredictable situations and characters, and everything else in this worthwhile sequel reminded me of the laughter I experienced the first time I saw the 1963 film It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World - except Missionary is filthier, funnier, satiric and sillier.

No special interest groups or subjects escape skewering in Missionary - among them: cops, televangelists/religion, sexual habits, marriage/gender roles, hair metal bands, race/racism, etc.

As with Adventures, the first Lord Iffy novel, there's a blink-and-you-miss-it cavalcade of references in this imaginative sequel, including Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God and the Iron Maiden songs "Hooks In You" and "Holy Smoke" (Jimmy Reptile is a character in both this song and Missionary) - these songs appeared on the band's 1990 album, No Prayer For The Dying.

Exemplary and unrestrained in its savage debaucheries, Missionary is a looser, more plot and character expansive read than its predecessor - and, like Adventures, worth your time if you want to read a clever middle finger to "good taste."

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