Michael Rubens: The Sheriff of Yrnameer

The book jacket flap of Rubens’ comic science fiction novel explicitly invites comparison to Douglas Adams (also Terry Pratchett). I can’t decide if that’s terrible idea, or a pretty good one. One the one hand there are some superficial similarities to the milieu of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so perhaps naming the elephant in the room is helpful. On the other hand, it’s one of those comparison’s that’s almost by definition impossible to live up to, and it might tend to overshadow The Sheriff of Yrnameer‘s non-Douglas Adams-y merits.

Here is The Sheriff of Yrnameer‘s most overtly hitchhickeresque passage:

Cole’s head throbbed. He recognized the throb, a dull and tenacious sort that resulted from drinking too much of one type of alcohol, the compounded by drinking too much of a second type of alcohol that was incompatible with the first, and then further aggravated by the addition of a third or fourth type of alcohol that was incompatible with most organic forms of live. It was the kind of throb that made him wish he could go right back to sleep, and then die, while preventing him from doing just that.

(Adams would have written “whilst” instead of “while”, of course.) But The Sheriff of Yrnameer owes at least as much to Seven Samurai — filtered through a zillion westerns — as it does to Douglas Adams. In Adams’ Hitchhiker novels, the plot seemed to primarily serve the purpose of setting up comic situations — those books weren’t driven by “how ever will they get out of this?”-style tension. In contrast, Rubens seems much more concerned with plot and at least attempts to build suspense (although this is somewhat undercut by the tone clearly telegraphing the outcome).

At the risk of damning it with faint praise, it was a swell book to take on an airplane flight — enjoyable, a fast, breezy read, not at all challenging.

needs more demons? comedy/action is a tricky blend to pull off, I think. This kinda sorta succeeds in both dimensions.

Published by therealsummervillain

likes: equality, making things easier to use, biking, jangle, distortion, monogamy dislikes: bigotry, policies that jeopardize people, lack of transparency

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