Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Coolest Sci-Fi

The Coolest Sci-Fi: "MISTER JUSTICE-Doris Piserchia (Ace, 1974, oop). Crammed into half of an Ace double and never reprinted, Mister Justice remains in a class by itself: hardboiled America, Sci-fi-style. Here the 2030s appear as a mutated 1930's, complete with an economic catastrophe that threatens evolution itself. The Shadow, the Green Hornet, the Untouchables-they never had what Mr. Justice has going for him. Sprung from humanity's threatened altruistic genes, this masked vigilante has the ability to travel into the past, where he can witness, but not prevent, murders. He then returns to the present, where he arranges 'an eye for an eye' treatment for the slayers, including full-scale gangland rub-outs. But he can't easily dispose of one Arthur Bingle, global crime archon' who has the same powers as Mr. J. and then some. Bingle feels about the human race in general what Mr. Justice feels about criminals, and he plans to thin us out and 'empty the world.' With the help of his powers, his syndicates of henchman and corrupt cops, and his dreadful lady friend Godiva-she of the constrictor thighs-Bingle gets the drop on humanity. But justice is just a matter of time. Piserchia relates this furious folktale with Chandler soul, Hammett snap, and not a trace of camp."

I ran across this review while surfing the 'Net the other day, and naturally it made me curious about the book. There are many bad things about having a house cluttered with thousands of books, but there's at least one good thing: When you run across a review like this, you can go to the Ace Double shelf and pull down the book. I'll have to read it and find out whether it's as good as the reviewer seems to think, and I'll give you a report. It does have a nice Freas cover, as does the other side, a novel by John Philliphent.


Anonymous said...

I read this book many years ago and I am still not sure who Mr.Justice is. I'm not normally a dumb person, but I would like closure on this.

Bill said...

I read the book, and it's kind of confusing. I think another draft might have cleared things up.