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Old 02-03-2011, 03:57 AM   #8084
ATDrake
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Just finished Ballistic Babes, an omnibus edition of two books in a hard-boiled sci-fi PI zany comedy series by John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem. They were pretty funny and set in a spoofy future where people swear using "DOS" and "Gates!" and there's plenty of absurd outgrowths of pop culture like the "Faux Network" and the PATA (People Against Talentless Acts).

The Radioactive Redhead was the 3rd book in the series, but held up pretty well when read as standalone.

Long story short: Retiring teen pop idol who plans to go into politics is targeted for assassination and hires Zach Johnson, the world's last PI, to be her bodyguard. In the meantime, Zach has to fend off an overeager network executive who wants to make him the star of a reality holovision show, Let's Kill Zach! and deal with his slightly wonky AI assistant, who's decided to make some fairly drastic user interface changes. Hilarity ensues.

I quite liked this one, although I did spot the whodunnit (or rather, guessed who was probably going to end up having dunnit) fairly easily, which is something I'm usually pretty bad at unless the writer is clumsily obvious about it. But then, this is a hard-boiled PI action/adventure story, not a classic detective sleuth-and-figure-it-out novel, so that's okay.

The Frost-Haired Vixen is the 4th book, and reading the opening chapters will thoroughly spoiler you for the 3rd book, just in case you happen to pick them up separately.

Long story short: In the future, there's an official (and non-denominational) Holiday, sponsored by the World Council, which has superseded all the rest. Everyone gets 3 gifts each year (1 they select themselves from the official catalogue, 2 others specially selected by the expert elf consultants who basically spy on everyone to find out their likes and dislikes) which is delivered by teleportation. This incredibly complicated annual tradition to maintain happiness worldwide is run by the genetically engineered Santana Clausa and her genetically engineered elves, two of whom have been killed at the Pole, which is sealed off from the rest of the world by a giant forcefield, thus making it a locked room murder mystery which Zach Johnson has to go undercover as an elf-suit wearing tourist to solve.

Enjoyable enough, but I think I liked the other one a little better, although it was pretty entertaining seeing what's basically the flipside of Futurama's "Xmas" with the killer Robot Santa and all. Lots of fun details about how the Holiday is run and what it Means to the world of 2060. Also some stuff about the aliens who apparently made all the advanced technology possible and lots of callbacks to previous books I hadn't read, which might account for why I liked TRR better (more self-contained).

Both recommended if you happen to like somewhat satirical sf comedy, especially mixed with a spoof on noir-ish defective detective tropes. I'll have to see if the library has any more of these.

Last edited by ATDrake; 02-03-2011 at 04:11 AM. Reason: Authors' names. Oh, and the fedora. Can't have a noir PI post without it.
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