Monday, May 07, 2007

Over the weekend...

...I read The Vesuvius Club by League of Gentlemen writer/performer Mark Gatiss. It's an amusing pastiche - think Flashman by way of James Bond with ambience by P.G. Wodehouse - but not quite the outrageous barrel of monkeys it was clearly intended to be. The first half is great fun: Lucifer Box, portraitist and superspy for the Edwardian equivalent of MI6, swans around London being caddish and witty while getting drawn into several plots that you just know are going to end up merging. By the time they do, Box has travelled to Naples and the book has essentially become the kind of thriller it was formerly extracting the piss from. There's even a ticking-time-bomb finale, fer chrissakes. Not a bad book though, and Box has a lot of potential.

I also finished reading Barrington Bayley's The Garments of Caean. Bayley is no stylist but his occasionally clunky prose doesn't detract from the entertainment offered by his ideas. The plot is pretty inventive too, hinging on a parasitic sentient suit that controls its wearer. There's one scene in which the suit, lacking a convenient human subject, fills itself with thousands of flesh-eating flies, kills the crew of a spaceship, then makes off with it using its fly-hands to manipulate the controls. You don't get that in Proust.

1 comment:

LadyCracker said...

Just bought a copy of The Vesuvius Club. Being a League of Gentleman fan I have high hopes!