PROSE BOWL by Bill & Barry N. Malzbera Pronzini


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Co-author Malzberg has penned lots of fantasy-satire stories about the writing profession--so it's not surprising that this futurist whimsy reads like a fine little story ill-advisedly stretched out to novel length. Sometime hence--after the Crash of 2006--old sports have been replaced by ""New-Sport"": speed competitions between typewriting hack-writers, broadcast on ""national TriDim"" and culminating in the ""Prose Bowl."" And finalist in this year's bowl is narrator Rex Sackett, ""The Metaphor Kid,"" who--before his big match with ""The Cranker"" (a grand old ""pulpeteer"")--is offered bribes to throw the bowl, then fumes as his girlfriend is kidnapped (his agent is behind it all. . . of course). But this padding is soon cleared away, and there's the Bowl itself--with the Cranker churning out ""FUTURISTIC LOVE-ADVENTURE"" while Rex pulps away at ""MID-TWENTIETH-CENTURY DETECTIVE."" True, this notion of hack-writing as a spectator sport (complete with Howard Cosell-ish announcing, injuries, etc.) has an initial charm. But here it's belabored unto tedium with pretentiousness (""Were he and I--all pulpeteers? --the same? Was New-Sport corrupt and meaningless?"") and routine sf filler. Good short-story idea; feeble novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's