Publisher: Dell Books
First Dell Printing, April 1977
Cover Art: Larry Kresek
Plot Synopsis (of cover): Prepare yourself for a romantic getaway—TO HELL! Built upon an ancient Indian burial ground, the sybaritic new Club Med location looked like it would be a screaming success… until its patrons started going missing. Conga lines formed, only to disappear, person-by-person, into the mists, never to emerge. Lovers taking midnight swims would not return for the continental breakfast: their discarded bathing suits are the only evidence of their vanishing. Worst yet, it seems that the hot tub is a re-purposed Sumerian sacrificial cauldron, and its eldritch power is trapping the souls of erstwhile vacationers! Those lucky few yet to be felled by the curse report (to management, in the futile hope of being comped) hearing the moans of the unliving, crying out from beyond the veil for more towels and Pay-Per-View. Their only hope for salvation is Johnny Two-Trees, descendant of the Lakota tribe buried beneath the resort and expert pool maintenance man. Guided by the Ancient Sumerian Hot Tub User Manual, will Johnny be able to exorcise the spirits and remove the curse, or will he simply be the next to take a permanent vacation at… CLUB DEAD?
Relatively Irrelevant Inside Text: First thing: CLICK HERE to see how to tell that a book is of unassailable quality before even reading it. Next, I’m going to assail this book’s quality, because it’s bad and it should feel bad. There’s nothing by way of character development. Like, for realz, at all. The protagonist speaks in a collection of really bad metaphors in an attempt to channel a particular breed of Noir P.I. that never actually existed. Instead, we end up with a stoned cartoon Marlowe in a Philip K. Dick setting gone terribly, terribly wrong. When I say “terribly, terribly wrong,” I don’t mean Dystopian—I mean like a sandwich you leave out before you go on vacation. You know what? That’s perfect—the simile I just used there? It’s just the kind of thing you can expect Haiblum to throw in your face over and over again. The dialog is some fucked-up halftone between The Long Goodbye and 70’s jive, culminating in something that tries to sound cool but, instead, sounds like… well, someone who learned to speak by reading Swank. The same for the setting. Vaguely acid-trippy in an “I Just Read My First Hunter Thompson” way, it’s the lack of subtlety that sours the story. Then again, everything lacks subtlety in this novel, so I’m going to be as un-subtle as I can while I wrap this up. HOW THE FUCK IS THIS A QUADRILOGY? WHO THE FUCK CONSUMES THIS AND WANTS MORE? READING THIS IS LIKE SHITTING IN YOUR OWN EYES! Still, better than The Metal Monster.
Rating: 4.9 Impossibly Inorganic Conversations
Questions for Critical Cover-Viewing:
- When Burt Reynolds called, did he ask for his mustache back?
- Who let Hieronymus Bosch program the holodeck?
- How much prog rock does Larry Kresek have to listen to and how many dried grams of mushrooms must he consume in order to even conceptualize crap like this? Follow up for extra credit: given that the answer must be the most non-zero of numbers, how will Larry Kresek ever pass a piss test?