Fofo’s #CBR4 Review #27-28: Divine Comedies by Tom Holt
Profile: Comic Fantasy, Absurdist Fiction, Satire
There’s something soothing about British satire. The formula is simple: take a modern social or political problem; build it into a fantasy or sci-fi setting; ridicule liberally and wrap everything up with a thoughtful look at the original problem. Only, sometimes there’s nothing to do but accept that the universe seems to be built for the express purpose of driving us all to an earlier grave. Tom Holt’s satire runs the gamut from meaningful social criticism to unsuccessful exercises in comic absurdism. I’m particularly fond of his Snow White and the Seven Samurai mashup, but both of the novels in the Divine Comedies omnibus tend toward the absurd end of his spectrum. Part of the problem is that when you’re talking about the meaning of life, the comic framework of satire undermines the thoughtful conclusion. The world is pretty nasty and… we’re supposed to keep laughing?