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Book Report: Gil’s All Fright Diner

The thing about Gil’s All Fright Diner is pretty evident from the title. It’s a joke, see. It’s just not a terribly funny one.

Actually, the bits that aren’t jokes in Gil’s work better than the bits that are. I mean, the bits that are obviously jokes are things like intoning secret incantations in pig latin and a sheriff named Kopp. I’m not saying those jokes couldn’t work in other contexts. I’m just saying that in this book, they scream “It’s a joke, see!” and they aren’t terribly funny.

On the other hand, the situation itself (a werewolf and vampire join forces with a local ghost and a mortal to combat ultimate evil) has room for lots of incidental humor, and besides the plot actually works pretty well. The characters are caricatures, sure, but they are swiftly drawn and reasonably sympathetic. And some of the sexy bits are sufficiently sexy that I found myself thinking that A. Lee Martinez might write pretty good porn. Not that the book has explicit scenes, just that he handles the attraction of one character to another both lightly and evocatively.

It’s a bad sign, really, when a book that is so clearly intended to be all about the yuks gets so few yuks. On the other hand, if I happened to notice that the fellow wrote another book that wasn’t such a yuk-fest, I would be inclined to read it.

On an unrelated note, YHB is all happy and stuff that Tom Doherty and Tor publish all kinds of good specfic, but their web site is unbelievably worthless and crappy, and their copy editing is no better than, say, S&S or Penguin any other megapublisher whose contempt for readers (er, consumers) shows in chintziness and sloppiness. Gr.

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,


Strangely, I agree and disagree with your review. Strange, because I'm the author, and your review is not terribly flattering. But you do have some good points.

About the humor. I agree. GIL'S was never intended as a "Yuckfest". Personally, I find very few funny books worth reading, and even fewer worth reading on the merit of their humor alone. Yes, there is humor in GIL'S, but my intent was not to make the reader laugh himself silly, but to tell an unconventional, fast-paced story. If a reader should enjoy a joke here and there, so much the better. But if you don't, I don't think it hurts the story, which was my more immediate concern. The things like pig Latin incantations and Sheriff Kopp were just amusing trifles, not meant to carry the whole book.

Thanks for the review. Though I don't agree with everything in it, I find it balanced, reasonable, and well-written.

I'll continue my tradition (twice, so it's a tradition) of responding as if the commenter really is the writer, which he (or she) may in fact be. I can't tell. It's the internet.
Anyway, thank you for your pretty compliment, which makes me even more inclined to pick up your next, should you write one. You shouldn't agree with everything in my note—nobody should, as it's my note, but certainly the author should have his (or her) (or its) own opinions.
I suppose this is as good a place as any to note that I keep seeing Neil Asher's books in the library, and have easily resisted the temptation to read them.

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