Review: Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg
Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg
by Derek Swannson
published by Three Graces Press
original publication: 2012
size: 2900KB (632 pages)
categories: humor; horror; occult; science fiction; literary fiction
simultaneous device licenses: six
part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: yes
real page numbers: no
“The things you want the most usually end up being bad for you. The sun gives you skin cancer, the tastiest foods make you fat, and love will break your heart.”
Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg
When I first started reading Crash Gordon, I was so impressed. This was amazingly good writing, with characters as well drawn as those in Stephen King. Like King, it also included supernatural and pop cultural elements, and seemed both very real and magical at the same time.
I recommended it to my Significant Other…but quickly had to retract that.
The first issue was that it got very graphic. Not violently graphic, and not pornographic in the sense that it was meant to stimulate you in that way…but personally sexually specific in a way that would mean not even Showtime could make a really faithful adaptation.
Still, the writing was very good. That one objection might not have stopped me from suggesting it to people.
However, as the book continued (and it is a satisfyingly long book…not like some in the Kindle store), the focus shifted from the characters to concepts. One character, introduced later in the book, lectures on and on. You can think of it like those long science monologues in a Michael Crichton book…except this goes on for pages of obscure facts and theories. In some cases, the lectures are broken up by snarky comments from other characters…but being on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 doesn’t make something a good movie.
These lectures were based on things that were familiar to me, but may not be to you. If the names Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, and Andrija Puharich are not known to you, I don’t think that will make the information particularly more interesting…it wasn’t familiarity that was the problem for me, it was that it tended to be just recitation.
It made it seem like the purpose of the book was the message, rather than entertainment.
If it wasn’t for that, if the whole book had been like the first part, I would definitely say that Derek Swannson was a major talent. My guess, though, is that Swannson’s primary goal wasn’t just to entertain.
I can see how this book will be some people’s favorite book. I would love to see more from Swannson without the agenda.
Now, I could be wrong…it could just be that it’s the characters that consider these conspiracy theories important, and that Swannson may write other books (this is not the author’s only book) that have nothing to do with that. If that’s the case, I’ll be more impressed.
There were many things I liked about the book. The main character loves to read…I could absolutely empathize. I thought this was a great line:
“Libraries will finally be recognized as the true churches, where angels communicate with mortals.”
I’m going to give you a few warnings…and then I think some of you may go on to read and love the book (well, certainly, the first part):
- Characters say racist things
- There are sexual taboos broken
- There is talk about horrible things
- Orthodoxy is challenged
- Occult things are discussed
The proofreading was pretty good. There were a few small errors (I plan to send them to the publisher), but no more than I would expect from a traditional publisher.
I think that gives you a good sense of this book. Many of you probably shouldn’t start it. Some of you will like it, but think it could have been edited more strongly (“Do you really need all those pages on that?”). Some of you will love it.
I got it through the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library), by the way. If people do get it based on this review, that system has worked.
If you do read it, feel free to tell me and my readers what you think…without spoilers, of course.
Update: the book is free to own (not just to borrow) through the Kindle store on August 25th and August 26th. You do not need to have a physical Kindle or be a Prime member to take advantage of this…it’s a giveaway. Thanks to the author, Derek Swannson, for the heads-up on this!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.