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Terrapin Or
Captain Megaloman and his Trusty Sidekick Squidley Save the World Once Again

Tilper Manaday
Lithodendron, 298 pages

Terrapin Or
Tilper Manaday
Tilper Manaday frequently lurks the USENET newsgroup alt.thinking.hurts and has alledgedly been sighted in both Milton, Washington and Norman, Oklahoma. He otherwise remains a Salinger-like figure. with deep concerns about his trash cans.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

OK, I know, you can't help but like a book with a title like Terrapin, or Captain Megaloman and his Trusty Sidekick Squidley Save the World Once Again. I suppose you could describe as absurdist this tale of an unemployed engineer who discovers a machine capable of selectively teleporting items or bits of matter all over the world and even the universe. Along with his sidekick, a reclusive obese billionaire with a pathological fear of women, he uses it to clean up and disarm the Earth, eliminate drug addiction (at least locally), set straight a televangelist and, of course, set off a number of amusing if odd consequences. It's also a bit of a humorous polemic against the state of Western civilisation, its disregard for the environment and the incompetence of its security specialists -- and it is fairly entertaining in a mind-candy sort of way.

While the alien overseers ending is a bit weak, what ultimately makes Terrapin readable, as opposed to a number of other "micro-press" offerings, is that:

  • the characters, if built from a number of indolent bachelor/couch potato/nerd clichés are oddball enough to be, from a male perspective, entertaining. Some women might simply identify the main characters as "losers" and miss some of the humour,
  • Tilper Manaday doesn't try to drag a 1000-page book out of a limited number of gags, and by extension doesn't try to set up a sequel, and
  • the writing, while unremarkable and more inspired by Homer Simpson than his classical namesake, is clear and free of obvious first-timer verbiage and adjective-stuffing.
All in all, Terrapin, or Captain Megaloman and his Trusty Sidekick Squidley Save the World Once Again is neither a candidate for the Gong show, nor a likely replacement to Terry Pratchett, but somewhere hovering above two smirks out of five.

Copyright © 2002 by Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.

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