JACK AND JILL: Two Novellas and a Story by Rick De Marinis

JACK AND JILL: Two Novellas and a Story

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The Fisherman and His Wife, novella number one, is straight cartoon. A nuclear scientist is about to leak secrets to the Japanese in 1940; an oafish giant named Child Monza is hired under false pretenses to help stop this, and finds himself caught up with the scientist's beautiful wife. There's a Japanese jazz clarinetist who gives out constantly with Forties hipster lingo. The only lift to this jerry-built genre piece is its own archness. The companion novella, Jack and Jill, bears down a little harder--but not much. Jill and Jack meet at a West Coast health spa. She's a traumatized ex-Air Force nurse, Jack's an engineer courting breakdown as he rushes to beat the Japanese to the first self-learning robot. Soul and science hook up--and it's really quite deft the way De Marinis leads the story on into disaster. But still you get the feeling that pet themes are being idly toyed with here, not driven to the wall. The short story, ""Medicine Man,"" illustrates, though, how good--and spooky, and inventive--De Marinis can be when he really bears down and concentrates. An Indian medicine man in the contemporary West can cure anyone but himself; he goes through magics like a man rifling a desk drawer to find an important paper. The story is dry and tight and vivid--which makes the slack noodling of the novellas that much more unsatisfying.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1978
Publisher: Dutton