Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain


Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain Front CoverEmperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain Front CoverA. Lee Martinez has become one of my favorite library finds. I first mentioned him here on GeekDad last Spring after I read Chasing the Moon. Chasing the Moon was a book I found while browsing the librarians recommended books at the local library where I tend to do my writing. (If you ever spot me, come talk. I won’t bite.) There is something which I find so satisfying about Martinez’s offbeat brand of humor. It’s a unique mixture of quasi-philosophical musings on life, sent up with a healthy dose of wit and paranormal absurdism. Think A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Beetlejuice.

So when I discovered late this summer that Martinez had a new book out, I quickly snapped it up to read aloud with my wife. (We have been reading aloud to each other on and off for the last 17 years.) Martinez’s latest offering, Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain, didn’t disappoint.

The story chronicles the adventures of the Neptunon former warlord of Terra, Emperor Mollusk, as he tracks down the mysterious assassins who have tried to kill him. Along the way, we get to see him debate justice, morality, and his unstoppable intelligence with Zala — the Venusian warrior sent to keep him alive so that he can be brought to justice for the crimes he committed in an earlier botched attempt to take over Venus. Their constant banter and debate provides one of the central joys of the book. Mollusk’s adventures take him from a hidden island, to the moon, and Paris — his favorite Earth city. Before the book is finished, the Mollusk has been assaulted by a gigantic jellyfish, captured by Serket, the eternal Empress of a small kingdom right next to Egypt, and has reminisced about the Saturnite invasion of Earth. Oh, I forgot to mention the hidden city of Shambhala, high in the Himalayas. We go there too — it’s where Mollusk has hidden the secret power source, named after himself, which has solved the Earth’s energy problems.

Martinez’s work can suffer from a bit of humor fatigue. It is hard to keep laughing at the same lunacy for nearly 300 pages, and, like so many of us who write, he can suffer from an overly long second act. (For those of you who don’t write, the second act of any story or script is by far the most difficult to do well.) Yet don’t let these minor flaws dissuade you. Martinez’s work will keep you chuckling, if not laughing out loud, all the way to the over-the-top conclusion.

Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain is out now in paperback, hardback, and electronic book formats. Thanks to the staff at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library for the original recommendation of Chasing the Moon.

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