Monday, September 28, 2015

Gestapo Mars -- Victor Gischler

What if Ian Fleming had been writing for Amazing Stories or Science Fiction Adventures in 1957 but hadn't been restricted by the then current prohibitions on graphic sex and violence?  He might have written something like Gestapo Mars.

The secret agent in this case isn't James Bond but Carter Sloan, who's working for the Third Reich, which in this imagined future has control of the Moon and Mars and pretty much the entire galaxy.  Now the regime is being threatened by the Resistance, and only Sloan can save it, which is why he's awakened and removed from the cryogenic chamber where he's been stashed for 258 years.  He's been left there because assassins are a lot better now, humans having been improved with all kinds of million-dollar-man additions.  But now the Reich needs someone like Sloan, who's merely been a heavily conditioned, but human, killing machine.  He won't be so easily spotted as he undertakes his mission to kill (or to save; the mission changes often) the Daughter of the Brass Dragon.  This is complicated by the alien Coriandon, who look like blobs of snot and who are intent on doing a number of the Reich and taking over the galaxy.

After the opening sentences, it's just one damn thing after another, with, as I mentioned, lots of graphic sex and violence (and cussing; did I mention cussing?) as Sloan attempts to save the Reich (or not, depending on his mood) and the human race.  The fate of the galaxy is in his hands!  

Hardly any of the story, much less the science, is believable, but who cares?  This isn't something that John W. Campbell would have published in Astounding even at gunpoint.  It's a rollicking adventure with sex, violence, and cussing, as I may have said already.  A couple of times the action stops for a page or so, and at one point there's even a little discussion on how hatred for "the other" sustains the Reich.  Any resemblance to current events is purely coincidental, I'm sure.  And I liked the talking dog that explains "the Kardashian effect."

One small complaint is the hissing of the unhissable:  "'Over there,' I hissed."  Oh, well.  There was probably a lot of that in Science Fiction Adventures in 1957, too.

You might note that on the cover there's a line that says, "A Carter Sloan Novel."  That implies that there'll be more of them, and I'll be reading them, too.  


Jeff Meyerson said...

I have been looking forward to this ever since I heard the title.


Anonymous said...

There are several instances in Wodehouse where a character hisses something without an "s" in it, and the narrator insists that such is possible. Sorry Bill, but I've got to side with Bertie Wooster on this iisue.

Art Scott

John D. said...

Hooray! This is already on my to-read pile. I mean, just look at that cover!

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thanks, Bill. Been wondering about this one.....have to wait until the overlords kick some money into my account by way of the associate deal.