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Christopher Moore
William Morrow, 336 pages

Christopher Moore
Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1957, Christopher Moore has worked as a roofer, a photographer, a disk jockey, a journalist, a motel clerk and a waiter. At 32, he wrote Practical Demonkeeping (optioned by Disney) followed by Coyote Blue and Bloodsucking Fiends, a love story.

Christopher Moore Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
SF Site Review: Island of the Sequined Love Nun
SF Site Review: Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

Expectations can be a dangerous thing. When I received a copy of Fluke I was reminded of the superb and subversive fiction of James Morrow, so I decide to read and review it. Now, maybe that's the wrong way to set out on a read, but, let's be honest: don't many of us pick our books this way?

The first third of the book has everything -- cynicism, dry wit, outrageous situations, and colourful characters. Marine behavioral biologist (a career you might want to steer your children away from) Nate Quinn wants to answer one question: why do whales sing? He's in the right place to research 'til he drops in a compound in Maui. He has an extremely motley crew backing him up, an eccentric patron, a reborn whitebread Rastaferian, a tempting research assistant, and the rest. His rival may have more money and flash, but they are really the same animal/different plumage.

Part One starts off with a hook that reels the reader in quickly with comically gloomy characters, inside jokes, and sly humour. When Quinn first catches a glimpse of the mysterious, uncouth message on the whale's tail, or fluke, the big, bold "Bite Me" seems perfectly justified, considering who is chasing the big creatures all over the sea. Not to mention their various motives...

As Part Two begins though, the action takes a turn toward the farcical and, sadly, the unfunny. The more Quinn learns of the true nature of the situation, the more the "clever-meter" nose dives. What he discovers does not live up to the intelligent and sometimes hilarious action Christopher Moore so carefully crafted. Suspending disbelief is not the problem -- SF readers are old pros at that game -- what sinks Fluke is the steady decline into the wasted effort of maintaining the books momentum.

Was there ever any connection to James Morrow's brilliant work? No. Not in quality, entertainment, or depth. If comparison seems an unfair method to judge a novel, don't worry -- any thought of a kinship between Morrow and Moore is instantly dismissed. Part One is well done and worthy of a read, but the two authors have only their propensity to dig uncomfortably deep into religion in common. There the resemblance ends.

But, if it's unfair to compare two authors, it is expected that some dissection of a novel will follow. Fluke simply builds promise in its first section that the other two-thirds of the book cannot deliver upon. If the key to creating anything is to maintain the quality, if not exceed it, of that first glimpse.

Moore at his best is an author to reckon with, with legions of fans awaiting the latest word from his pen. For me, I will look forward to his next work to surpass the tantalising flashes of Fluke.

Copyright © 2003 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction, horror, dark realism, and humour. DARKERS, her first novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She is a contributing editor at SF Site and for BLACK GATE magazine. Lisa has also written for BOOKPAGE, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Science Fiction Weekly, and SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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