CONDITION PINK by Leland F. Cooley


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Take a great story idea, a topical and potentially hilarious situation, a herd of far-out characters, and author Cooley. What do you get? a near-miss, at best; at worst, a total flop. This soi-disant satire on the vagaries of life on the Ultra Right is set, naturally, in Southern California. A remarkably Birch-like kooks ""General"" Trotter, has recruited a citizens' militia to repel a rumored attack across the Mexican border by a hundred thousand-or-so Chinese suicide troops. The scare spreads to the U.S. Marine Corps, and eventually everyone is up in arms--including Trotter who, somewhere along the WaYs is sidetracked into those of a lovely widow-lady colonel. The crisis comes one night when the entire counter-invasion force--militia, Marines, et al.--clashes with everyone else, except, of course, with the Chinese invaders who do not exist. This could have been a bright and brittle take-off on the Superamericans--a sort of 1984 out of California by Evelyn Waugh. Unfortunately Mr. Cooley's hand is heavy; his humor is predictable, his characters too ""pat,"" the step beyond reality too large for the reader to know in his heart what is Right. The result is not effective satire, but ineffectual burlesque.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1967
Publisher: Doubleday