Mount Readmore Book Review, 2017 42/100
Genrenauts: the Shootout Solution By Michael R Underwood
Finished on 5/2/2017
Genres: Genre-bending, Fantasy, Sci fi, Urban Fantasy, Western, Comedy
Tropes from the Old West are leaking out of Western World and into our world! Leah Tang must go into Western World and fix a broken plot, before the real world succumbs to bandits and vigilantes!
This was a fast and fun novella. It was a story about stories. The main character, Leah Tang, is a genre-aware comedy circuit regular who struggles to make a living dissecting plots before drunk crowds. She’s recruited by the Genrenauts (think ecologists for stories), and is sent on a mission to save Western World from collapsing under the weight of defied tropes. This was a book about books, so people who love stories would get a lot out of this while people who are just casual readers might be baffled.
This book does not overstay it’s welcome. As a novella it was just the right length to be fun but not long in the tooth. As I read more and more books, I am increasingly appreciative of this fact I’m presently consuming Robert Jordan’s ‘The Eye of the World’ and its sheer length is causing me problems.
The book’s light tone also does it favors, because I don’t think someone could pull off this same novel with a super-serious tone. I appreciated the focus on a diverse cast (including Asian, Middle Eastern, Black American, Hispanic, Afrikaaner and Trans people). The plot, given as it was about plots, was very meta.
Now for some constructive criticism. The characterization is a bit thin on the ground. At first I thought that Leah is a suspicious person, but later on she seems more trusting. Morpheus- I mean King, is a ‘Cool Black Leader Guy.’ Shirin is supposedly a classy old trans aunt from Iran, but we are only told that and not shown it. Roman and Maribel are the most interesting people around because their backstories are alluded to but never fully revealed. It was a short story so some of this can be forgiven, but I would have liked something to dig my teeth into.
I heartily recommend this book to any reader who loves stories simply because they are stories.