When Joss Whedon gives a blurb for a book, you take notice. And then you read said book and remember that Whedon’s Midas Touch doesn’t work 10% of the time. This book and Dollhouse fall into that 10%.
Mihcael McGill, private eye, is tasked by the US Chief of Staff to recover a piece of American history – book written with alien technology by the founding fathers that forces people to read it and abide by its code of conduct. Nixon paid a hooker with it back in the day and since then it switches hands too frequently for the government to get a chance to seize it. Before McGill begins his journey, he meets Trix, a sexology student who decides to follow McGill on his journey because McGill is a self-describe “shit magnet” – his cases would make a column in Playboy look on it horror. His luck continues on the search for the book, that’s been used as currency over the years for different sexual fetishes and perversions.
This book could’ve been amazing, provided Ellis didn’t write it. The premise is sound, but the execution is piss poor. Ellis tried to be a modern day Hunter S. Thompson, being the gonzo voice of our counterculture’s generation. Instead of drugs, we gorge ourselves on sex, so much so that we have to invent new and twisted ways of doing it. It’s an interesting assessment of our culture, especially with our increasing reliance on the internet and the ever growing amount of pron one can find there. But instead of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Ellis gives us a scrambled porn channel while someone with a megaphones screams, “SEX! SEX! SEX!”, in our eardrums. There’s no eloquence to this treatise on modern day sex culture. In fact, he exchanged his message along the way, and settling instead on the goal to just skeeve the reader out with as many freaky sexploits as he could describe. I feel that the premis could’ve been handled with more grace by a writer like Chuck Palahnuik, if you wanted to toe the skeevy sex line, or by Christopher Moore if you wanted to go the more humorous route. I’m all for a more tolerant world to discuss sex in, but let’s not play the “penis game”, where whoever can say penis loudest wins. Doing something for the sheer shock value is just plain lazy writing.
Same goes for stand-up comedy.