By Scott A. Cupp
This is the 165th in my series of Forgotten Books.
I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween with lots of costumes and candy and fun. We had rain in San Antonio, first early in the day and then again just as the sun went down. Kind of dampened a few spirits and ghouls too.
This week I need to talk about one of my favorite living writers, Victor Gischler. It was Bill Crider who I blame for pointing me in Gischler’s direction. VG was looking for “Gischler virgins” (people who had never read his work) to try a test on. I responded that I was a virgin and he sent me a copy of Shotgun Opera. The only requirement was that I read the book and post a review. If I liked it, great. If not, tell people what I thought and pass the book on.
I posted my review on Amazon and it went along the lines of “What if Quentin Tarrant no had directed the Marx Brothers in Kill Bill and they had done it in drag?” That really didn’t describe the plot of the book, but it certainly captured the flavor. Gischler is not going to be your mother’s thriller writer. Conventional is not a word to enter into these discussions.
I’ve read many of his books, but not all. A couple are waiting for me to get to them. I just cannot binge on this stuff. But I love what I read. When I was Toastmaster at ArmadilloCon a few years back, the committee asked if there was anyone they could invite that I wanted to come. I told them Gischler’s name and he came in from Baton Rouge. He seems like a nice normal person, and I think he had a good time. I know I enjoyed seeing him there.
So this week we are looking at his new science fiction thriller which is not likely to be in a lot of places because … well, it’s not very PC. Gestapo Mars is a title unlikely to send Barnes & Noble ordering 150 copies per store. It’s much more likely to be in the one-or-fewer copy range. Much like Norman Spinrad’s The Iron Dream, this attempts to make a Nazi sympathetic hero work for the reader.
Carter Sloan is a programmed and highly trained assassin and spy for the Third Reich, which is still in existence several centuries from now. He has been in cryostorage for 258 years, awaiting a mission. When he is awaked, he is told that he will be invading a resistance group looking for the Daughter of the Brass Dragon. Almost immediately, the people reviving him are attacked by the Nazis, who also want him to get to the Daughter of the Brass Dragon. His instructions are a little vague. He will have to improvise and move along. When he finds the Daughter he is to capture her. Or maybe kill her. No, it’s capture. Then it’s kill. Things get a little weird.
He is sent to the moon in a disguise and is accepted by the resistance and the lovely Meredith Capulet, who agrees to smuggle him out. But nothing goes as planned, and her little flyer is attacked by the aliens of the Coriandon race, gelatinous beings from somewhere not near here.
To save himself, he must reveal his Nazi connections and call for help. This obviously does not set well with Meredith, but he wants to live and love again. Bad things happen to the Nazis, and Carter and Meredith are on a slow ship back to the Nazi stronghold on Mars.
But, wait, things have changed. The resistance has moved against the Nazis, and no one is safe. His mission changes until he no longer cares and just wants to survive. Enter the exploding dog with new missions.
The action is fast, furious and irreverent. Sloan has to question all sides and make love to all available women. It’s kind of like Raiders of the Lost Reich, as situations change every few pages. The Nazis and resistance need to unite, because the gooey aliens are coming and they have big guns.
It’s a fun and fast read full of in jokes and odd stuff. When someone sings “Hey, hey we’re the Nazis. The people say we Nazi around,” you know sanity has left the building.
As usual, your mileage may vary, but if Ernie Kovacs and Monty Python are your type of humor, along with a tiny sprinkle of Benny Hill, you can find a home on Gestapo Mars. And the cover is fun, too.
Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more Friday Forgotten Book reviews at her own blog, and posts a complete list of participating blogs.