Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review--Ghosty: This Fenceless World

by Bernard Sell

Bingo Elkins is a multi-millionaire.  He is the overlord of a multi-national corporation.  He has his own jet, lives in a mansion, and has access to the finest food and liquor.
Too bad he can't experience any of it.
Bingo is dead.  He died sometime in the very late 19th Century.  He is a ghost.  Not a scary ghost, but an ectoplasmic man of leisure, for whom a bad day is one that begins before 11am.  He has his own assistant, Miss Thamavongsa, a beautiful Asian woman who is as skilled with ninja weapons as she is with Microsoft Outlook.  He has a top-notch (but most arrogant) scientist on the payroll by the name of Dr. Reed Robaire.  To cap things off, he has a thawed out caveman who is trying to learn Nietzsche.  
But there is a sinister plot afoot.  A shadowy terrorist organization is plotting to bring ruin to both Bingo's company and the world.

I know what you might be thinking.  "Bernard Sell is one of your best friends.  How can you possibly give us an impartial review?"  
Well, maybe I can't, but I can assure you of two things: 1) if Bernard really had written a complete turd, I would say so for my reputation is at stake for any recommendations that I give, and 2) I was in on the ground floor of Ghosty and got to see it develop into the gem that it now is.
Messr. Sell does something with this book that I am an absolute sucker for: he places the highbrow (Wodehouse, Nietzsche, Bach) into a literary cyclotron and collides it headfirst into the lowbrow (The A-Team, Predator, and numerous action movies).  The paroxysm that ensues from the collision is Ghosty...
And damn is it a lot of fun.  Like I mentioned, I gave the book one of its first editorial read-throughs.  I saved it for my lunch break at my day job and looked forward to it each and every time.  I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen to these characters next.  That was not simply due to it being a rollicking yarn, but because I became genuinely attached to these characters.  Bingo is jovial and endearing, absolutely the kind of ghost you'd want haunting you if such a thing must happen.  Miss Thamavongsa has a wicked attractiveness to her, made all the more intense by her intellect and her skill at killing.  Dr. Robaire is a bit grating on the nerves, but he is meant to be.  After all, he has a degree in SCIENCE!  That last word is meant to spoken as it is heard in Thomas Dolby's classic, "She Blinded Me With Science."  Think of him as the Professor on Gilligan's Island or Dr. Quest on Jonny Quest, uberminds that never really tell us which field of science that they studied, only that it is SCIENCE!
Perhaps best of all is the prose style.  Sell has the best satirical wit I've come across this side of Voltaire.  You don't see that kind of humor as much these days, that earnest-faced, deadpan-delivered dialogue or narration that no one else in the book finds ridiculous.  No, that's a privilege reserved only for the lucky reader.
Bingo narrates the book, speaking in a voice and style that is indicative of his time of departure, specifically the late 19th Century (think Wodehouse, Wooster and Jeeves.)  While I understand that this could be seen as esoteric to modern readers and perhaps even a challenge at times, I would urge you to stick with it.  In time, you will see that you simply cannot help but love Bingo.
So what are you waiting for?  Click here and get your copy of Ghosty now!!

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1 comment:

  1. "Ghosty" is also available for the Kindle at Amazon.com.


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