Saturday, 8 October 2011

Marco and the Red Granny by Mur Lafferty

Official Blurb

By bringing back the patronage system, a new alien species has transformed the moon into the new artistic center of the universe, and Sally Ride Lunar Base soon gains the nickname “Mollywood.” These aliens can do amazing things with art and the senses, allowing a painting, for example, to stimulate other senses than simply sight. When someone asks a starlet, “Who are you wearing?” she could as easily say “J.K. Rowling” as she could “Gucci.”

Every creative person in the world wishes for a patronage. It’s quite competitive.

Marco wanted one, once. But then his girlfriend got one and shuttled off to Mollywood for fame and fortune, and Marco stayed home, waiting for his own patron. After several years, he gave up entirely. His career faltered. His agent dumped him. And then, one morning, he gets a call. At last he has a patron, at last the aliens want him. But he’s about to find out that an artistic patronage isn’t what it was in the good old days, and that the only friend he’s made, a tiny old woman who’s the star of a blood sports reality series called The Most Dangerous Game, has secrets of her own.

My Review

I had no idea if I was going to enjoy book, it was a punt in the dark! The title kind of put me off, it sounded a bit ... dumb. When you read the blurb it is quite clearly a sci fi story but the last line of the blurb makes it sound like a kids book (remember "Super Gran"?). I just didn't know what to expect.

All that confusion wafted away once I started listening, it was a character driven play in a sci fi story. It's not a high action story, although there are battles to the death in an arena on the moon!

The story is fundamentally a 50's or 60's style one-trick story. In a way it reminded me of [SPOILER AHEAD] "Star Surgeon" where there's a massive plague that in the end is beaten by simply smoking cigarettes. This story has that kind of feel.

I enjoyed the story well enough, but I feel like it's a lost opportunity. If your reading this Mur, I think you need to rename it, and swap out the granny. It seems you were trying to write a satirical piece, but there is no humour in the story, it's a character-play-adventure. Kill the granny and insert an ex-Marine in her stead. (Or tell me to shut-up!)

The production suffers a little, the theme music levels seem at odds with the voice over narration, I had adjust volume every time the theme came up.

Reading 2/3
Production 1/3
Story 2/3

Total Score 5/9

Download it from the Podiobooks
Listen to the first part