Frequent shifts in point of view amid a welter of journeys, captures, escapes, lampoonery and alien invasions cap the Norumbegan Quartet with a patchwork close.
The psycho-vampiric Thusser continue to conquer Vermont while mounting a massive attack through an interdimensional gateway on the degenerate elves living in the innards of a continent-sized Great Body. Meanwhile, Brian and Gregory, along with hot if easily distracted elven companion Gwynyfer and doglike bacterium Tars Tarkas, set out to contact the remote Rules Keepers—a convenient, one-step way to bring the invaders to heel. Anderson sends his contentious young adventurers down a country-sized intestinal tract and through encounters with fungal mystics and other biota into captivity in a Thusser prison built from hardened phlegm. As he does, the author makes increasingly rapid-fire cuts from that world to this one, from the advancing hordes of genuinely creepy Thusser to the comically self-absorbed elves and other previously met characters. Just as his tale shows signs of being wrung dry of both satiric juice and bodily fluids, the author engineers a dizzying, last-moment save.
Better-read fans will discern strains from Swift, Tolkien, Burroughs and others (not to mention Grey’s Anatomy and Fantastic Voyage) within this climactic orchestral cacophony of ickiness and farce. (Burlesque horror. 11-14)