on March 6, 2012
Dickens' immortal tale, centered around zombies.
Christmas and zombies are two of my favorite things, and I love humorous writing, so I was immediately drawn to this book. Sadly, Adams fails to deliver.
The writing is meant to be funny, irreverent and clever. The story begins: "Marley was dead, to begin with. Dead for about three minutes, that is: then he got up again." A good start. Sadly, it's a lonely hit in a sea of misses. Relying frequently on cheap tricks (when speaking of Scrooge's SANG-FROID - "... no one's SANG was FROIDER."; when Marley breaks through Scrooge's door - "The fist withdrew, and was replaced by a face - a hideous, distorted face with dried gore smeared in amongst its whiskers, and yet a face that Scrooge recognized at once. And the slavering mouth expanded its vowel-repertoire: 'Heeere's MARLEY!'"), it often references itself ("Had Scrooge always been an antisocial, miserly sort? By no means! By NO means! By no MEANS! OK, the middle one, I think.") and frequently rambles off on tangents that should've been left on the cutting room floor ("People said that Scrooge's heart was three sizes too small. Too small! It is not clear what they meant, since there was nothing wrong with Scrooge's circulation. The organ in question was, after all, large enough to pump blood through Scrooge's body. Which was its job. We might wonder: in what sense TOO SMALL? Did the people who said so have plans to - in some sense - WEAR the organ in question, themselves? But to be frank, it is not clear to me why anybody would want to. Wear it IN WHAT CAPACITY? That's the question nobody is answering! It could, I suppose, and at a pinch, be used as a boxing glove. It would be considerably more than three sizes too small to be a hat. But in either case the main objection would not be one of size, but general efficacy - the scarlet wetness would stain, the fabric would be of limited use. Let us, on balance, spend no longer on the actual size of Scrooge's heart.") Oh, my god, make it stop.
Three of those four examples were on a single page, by the way. The entire book is like this.
Regarding the book's ties to A Christmas Carol, Adams has taken the story and turned it upside down, shaken its lunch money out of its pockets, and given it a swirley before shoving it in someone's locker. Key characters have altered names and completely different personalities, a hacking cough is conjured to explain Scrooge's use of the phrase 'bah, humbug' and the meaning of Christmas itself is rewritten. This is all meant to be funny and clever, but it's just not. All the charm from Dickens' story has been stripped out. Adams' plot is like a mess of octopus legs. They more or less sort out in the end, but I wasn't moved enough to care. I was just glad it was over.
As for the zombies, they are neither funny nor scary. Utterly unremarkable as zombies go. What a shame.
The whole thing is dumb from start to end. The first ghost coalesces out of the steam when Scrooge pees into his cold chamber pot, for crying out loud.
on November 19, 2011
I purchased this book during a European vacation stop in London in Fall 2010...actually bought a few copies of it after the bookseller told me there were no plans to publish it in America...thought they would be unique Christmas gifts. I'm glad to see it finally was published (albeit a year later) in the States. If you're a fan of such morbid classics like ABRAHAM LINCOLN - VAMPIRE HUNTER and PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES, you'll love this one! Read it in under an hour and truly entertaining!