Molly Marbles travels from Earth to the moon to Mars in Kingon’s chocolate-filled comic novel.
Molly Marbles, an overweight 24th-century Earth girl, wrote “The Joy of Salami,” an essay that won her a spot at a university on the moon. Later, after marriage and twin girls, Molly lives on Mars. After starting a new job as a security guard at the Culinary Institute, she investigates a mystery: People are ending up poisoned after eating her favorite snack food, Chocolate Moons. Kingon invents a colorful, often outrageous cast: Molly’s first love, Drew, who has an affair with CC, otherwise known as Colorful Copies; Cortland Summers, Molly’s husband and an aspiring rock legend; and Rocket, a sleazy fellow looking to make lots of money by any means necessary; and other memorable characters. The author builds a weird, hilarious universe full of witty language and unique detail. In the future, for example, Hallmark-card artwork is expensive and coveted, Uranus is home to toy factories and Mars has cities named New Chicago and Pharaoh City. Kingon’s prose is often as snappy as her settings; when Molly discovers Drew’s affair she proclaims, “Suddenly I feel like a pizza cut into more than eight slices.” That said, the author seems to take for granted that readers will understand aspects of her invented world without explanation. Undeveloped characters come and go, and the case of the poisoned Chocolate Moons, the real action of the story, doesn’t begin in earnest until a third of the way into the book; indeed, readers could skip the first 50 pages of the novel and not miss much, though the story does wrap up with a satisfying conclusion.
Delightful, if sometimes saccharine.