Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Goats: Showcase Showdown, by Jonathan Rosenberg

Contest Book #15

According to the Infinite Monkey Theorem, an immortal monkey hitting a keyboard at random for an infinite amount of time will eventually replicate the complete works of Shakespeare. Flipping through Jonathan Rosenberg's Goats: Showcase Showdown is like reading that keyboarding monkey's literary output at the halfway point—recognizable words have been formed, but it's still total gibberish.

The plot (such as it is) centers around a human dude named Jon and his companions, a constantly shifting group of demons, aliens, and talking animals. The characters drift through an alternate universe created by some of the aforementioned immortal monkeys, squabbling and hitting on each other and hanging out in a bar staffed by a Swiss bartender named Alfred. There are frequent outbreaks of gore and occasional references to Reese Witherspoon. Oh, and an anthropomorphic stalk of broccoli wearing Converse.

Even if I understood Goats, I don't think I'd love it. Rosenberg takes too many cheap shots at Britney Spears and Paula Abdul and doesn't include enough girl characters, although I was intrigued by his cigar-smoking, gun-toting take on Rainbow Brite. I laughed at the odd line (“I look like I had a knife fight with Violet Beauregarde.”), but found the larger story too self-indulgently kooky to be worth puzzling out.

[Review based on a publisher-provided copy.]

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