Friday, 31 August 2007
'Fluke' - Christopher Moore (Orbit Books)
I like whales, I think they're great. I like watching them on TV and when that whale swam up the river Thames (a while ago) I found myself willing it to turn around and swim back the other way. Unfortunately, my psychic powers aren't fully developed (yet) so we all know how that one turned out. What I'm not interested in though is what whales do and why they do it (just doesn't do it for me I'm afraid) so when I read a book with big info-dumps about whale behaviour a little part of me ends up setting the alarm to go off when something interesting happens…
Nate Quinn is a marine behavioural biologist who is very surprised to see a whale with the words 'BITE ME' written in foot high letters on its tale. Things are about to get even more weird though. Crucial photos go missing, Nate's research facility is trashed and strange grey figures are seen sinking his boat. And why does the strange old woman (on the hill) keep asking Nate to take rye and pastrami sandwiches out for the whales? All answers lie at the bottom of the sea…
Humorous fiction is a funny thing to write about (get it?) because if it doesn't cater to your own sense of humour then you're on a losing streak right from the start. While there were some funny bits (Kona the white Rastafarian made me laugh every time he appeared) the rest felt like a Robert Rankin novel but without the jokes. I just didn’t get it I’m afraid. As I already said, the whale behaviour ‘info-dumps’ were a turn off and (for me) verged on the overly ‘preachy’. I already know that whale hunting is a bad thing; I don’t need it rammed down my throat in a book that I just want to read and enjoy.
‘Fluke’ offers plenty of evidence of a man with a fertile imagination having a fine old time writing about something dear to him and if you’re already a fan then I reckon you’ll lap this one up. I just didn’t get it though and I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of his books.
Four out of Ten