It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
It’s difficult to know how to accurately describe this novel, but allow me to try. It’s a lot of ridiculous, off-the-wall, acid-tripping nonsense. There. How’s that? Want some more? O.K. It’s so weird as to make the worst excesses of Monty Python’s Flying Circus look like a conversation between a bearded monk, who has taken a vow of silence, and a comatose Mother Teresa.
Whilst reading this book, and I struggled at times to push through, I was reminded of when I was a child (that wasn’t today or yesterday) and watching the British T.V. show The Goodies. Nothing made sense.
The plot-line is so over-the-top silly as to make both authors (one of whom looks like Rin Tin Tin’s errant cousin) eligible for scripting both US and Israeli foreign policies. It goes like something this:
Nilanjana is from Indiana and moves to Night Vale, a desert town, to pursue her love of science. However, all this takes place in an alternate reality or universe or perhaps, like Bobby Ewing, it’s all a dream. In any event, little baubles of apparent drug-induced info are tossed about at random, seemingly designed to raise a laugh but failing miserably.
Night Vale is under threat from source unknown. Buildings and people are disappearing into holes in the desert and Nilanjana is determined to discover why. She is obstructed in this by the actions of Night Vale’s secret and not-so-secret police, who operate upon the principles of fascism. In this, It Devours! could be viewed as making a comment upon the direction of the current Federal US government.
Surveillance choppers are everywhere. They speak with individuals citizens through their bull-horns. People are abducted willy-nilly by the authorities. Forms must be filled out in triplicate if one wishes to have sex. T.V.’s are mandatory and can be switched on at any time by the city council for the purpose of propaganda. Every conversation is recorded, except when it isn’t.
Nilanjana becomes romantically entangled with Daryl, a member of the cultish (yes, that is an ‘l’) Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God. This group may or may not be responsible for the trouble, or it might be the city council. Who knows? Who cares?
As Nilanjana investigates deeper, we are introduced to an array of unusual and unbelievable characters that present as an amateurish attempt at wacky humour. Although the central characters are likeable, there is just too much crap throughout this story.
It Devours! is based upon the apparently popular podcast ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ (never heard of it) and follows the supposedly popular novel of the same name (still never heard of it). As much as Rebel Voice enjoys wacky humour, this novel falls well short of engaging comedy. There were large parts that could have been edited out but were instead left to further burden any intrepid but unfortunate reader.
Charlaine Harris has a great series set in Midnight Crossing. Her books host a weird and wonderful variety of persons, all of whom are thoroughly engaging. If Fink and Cranor were attempting something similar then they bombed the big one.
It Devours! is like a book written for 6 year olds but then thrown at adults. It’s all over the damn shop. The worst of it is that there will likely be more of these tomes of inane drivel aimed at depriving good readers of precious hours of their lives.
The scientists of Night Vale challenge the religious nutjobs, as the city council and police hassle everyone. There are also alternate dimensions within alternate dimensions so that anything becomes possible. David Icke would love to live in Night Vale, right beside the Lizard People.
And that’s it, the full story of It Devours! As much as this author enjoyed the hilarity of Leo Baxendale’s illustrations in his highly collectible ‘Willy the Kid’ series, that was the stuff of children. Yet it was still more mature and thought-provoking than what lurks in It Devours!
I feel that, having read this book (just about) and looked upon the bio-pics of both authors, I would hate both of them should we chance to meet. They strike me as the kind of people who were picked on as teenagers because of their silly sense of humour, but who have stubbornly persevered to try to prove everyone wrong and make us suffer in the process. I really wish that they hadn’t done that.
I feel like I should invoice them for the time taken to wade through this literary guff, but I doubt that they could afford the payment. I’ll leave them be, forever.
Sult scale rating: 3 out of 10. Steer clear of this silliness. If you want alternate realities and really, really humorous writing, then read ‘John Dies At The End‘. The books are alternate universes apart.
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