Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It Came From Hangar 18, by Scott Fulks and Will Viharo

(pb; 2011)

From the back cover:

"It Came From Hangar 18 is the most action-packed, erotic science fiction epic since The Bible - but with even more sex and violence!  It mixes hardcore sex with hard science, conspiracy theories with conspicuous satire, mythological monsters with mutated mobsters, flesh-eating feminists with voyeuristic vampires, and creates a potent literary Tiki cocktail pulsating with pulp, planets, pulchitrude, politics, and a plethora of other "p" words.  This is essential end-of-the-world desert-island flashlight-under-the-covers reading, the ultimate B movie in literary form, and the most tantalizing textbook in the annals of anarchic academia."


Hangar is an ambitious, giddy mega-riff on films (especially Fifties B-movies), vampires, tiki culture, werewolves, zombies, East Bay (Northern California) locales, politics, gory cartoonish violence, explicit (sometimes icky) sex and pretty much anything else you can probably imagine.  Its characters and its pacing are often manic, its scope and tone flirts with epical, cheesy notions, making this one of the most id-tastic, action-packed rollercoaster works I've read this year.  Did I mention that this is not a kid-friendly book?

I have one nit about this 514-page, self-referential novel, and it's relatively minor: whenever Radon and Adam Brayne have their "hard science" conversations, they run way too long, almost bring the story to a screeching halt (even Brayne complains about the down-the-rabbit-hole feel of these exchanges).  While I admire the authors' ambition of updating - providing fresh wrinkles - to this Fifties B-movie novel and I understand how cerebral Radon can be, his exchanges with Brayne ramble for pages when a relatively few, concise lines would suffice.  Yes, some of these conversations, a mixing of nerd-tastic science and smutty sex comparisons, are funny, but early on they take on a filler-not-thriller feel.

As I noted before, this is a minor nit in a work that's one of the most gleeful, imaginative, bordering-on-epic novels I've read this year.  Hangar expands the notion of a "genre blender," takes it to new, heady heights.  If you can get past the rambling sections - seventy-five pages could have easily been cut - this is the book you should be buying right now.

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