by Robert Sheckley ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 7, 1999
First solo appearance for Sheckley since Dramocles (1983) following a series of comedy collaborations with the late Roger Zelazny (A Farce to be Reckoned With, 1995, etc.). Thanks to bad investment advice, impoverished mythology professor Arthur Fenn topples into a financial black hole. But then he receives the Key of Solomon from a fellow scholar. Arthur uses the key to visit Godshome, where he meets Leafie, a manic-depressive trickster god who agrees to help--in return for unlimited access to Earth. Unwittingly, Arthur signs up. Leafie soon fixes Arthur's financial problems, but then he and a bunch of repulsive friends move in with Arthur. Mimi, Arthur's beloved, takes one look and bolts. Sammy, Arthur's reckless stockbroker friend, likes the gods, though, and makes money fencing the antiques, jewels, and TVs they steal to feed their disgusting appetites. Leafie decides to set Arthur up as the figurehead of a new religion. But in contacting Godshome, Arthur broke the universe. Another god, Asturas, came into being to fix things; unfortunately, Asturas's evil brother, Ahriman, wants to destroy the Earth and arranges for an invasion by alien religious fanatics. Another subplot involves the apprentice love goddess Mellicent, who, accidentally struck by Cupid's arrow, falls for Arthur. Leafie and friends, meanwhile, devastate the Earth. Somehow Arthur, aided by an interactive HELP file and an articulate black hole, must save the planet, or the universe, or something. Time was when Sheckley routinely turned out terrific SF short stories, though his novels have always been poor; here, the framework's broadly amusing but few laughs bubble up through the increasingly desperate improvisation.
Pub Date: Jan. 7, 1999
Page Count: 240
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998
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