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Ron Dakron
Black Heron Press, 132 pages

Ron Dakron
Ron Dakron is a poet and author of four novels -- infra, Newt, Hammers and Mantids, and three collections of poetry. His work runs the gamut from surrealism to sci-fi pastiche.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

The publisher's blurb describes Ron Dakron's Mantids as "an update of the world's oldest novel -- Petronius's Satyricon". Now, I'm sadly lacking in a classical education and had to rely on the Wikipedia entry on the Satyricon, but I had some trouble seeing the similarity between the two stories. Likely this has to do with Mantids being about 1/10th the size and Dakron pared down the original to the bare essentials: erections and giant bugs.

The book tells the story of the end of mankind through Mantid Apocalypse, as told by a slacker douche-bag of a grunge rocker named Chad. Thanks to his razor sharp focus on his own problems, he does not notice civilization falling around him. Once he manages to overdose on Viagra, he can't even think of anything but his own dick. As he tells the story, he continually excuses his lack of awareness on whatever his problem of the moment happens to be. As a tiny spoiler, I will point out that he does not overcome these flaws and save mankind.

While I found the fact that the main character was such a worthless jerk annoying, I'm not sure that the book could have worked otherwise. The real star of the book is not the narrator but the writing. Dakron is a poet and his skill with words makes this book shine. He pulls all of your senses in while describing a world awash with giant, man-crazy, killer mutant bugs who think like the humans they once were. How can you not respect that level of skill?

There's probably some deeper analysis of Chad that could be done, his reasons for what he did, his guilty asides about Lola's fate, his lack of self awareness, and so on, but who cares? Read this book for the prose and not the likability of the protagonist. Plus, Mantids is short enough that you can dive in and experience Chad and then get out before it sticks.

It's worth it.

Copyright © 2009 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.

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