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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does to cons what should be done to cons
Before I start, let me say that I'm a minor SMOF (secret master of fandom) who has been a panelist and masquerade MC at several regional cons and one Worldcon. I wrote fan fiction, married an APAhacker, and participated in regular D&D runs until recently. I didn't go to cons for a while due to financial problems, but I'm going to Readercon next weekend. I'm also...
Published on July 3, 1999

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Biased, but sometimes accurate, picture of SF fandom
I will admit, I was prejudiced against this book. I value my fannish friends, and dislike hostile caricatures by someone from outside. It's rather like how a member of an ethnic group can make ethnic jokes about that group in safety, while an outsider should not do so. To be sure, the caricatures in the book did resemble people I know, but not _everybody_ at a typical...
Published on March 31, 1998 by Eric Oppen


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does to cons what should be done to cons, July 3, 1999
By A Customer
Before I start, let me say that I'm a minor SMOF (secret master of fandom) who has been a panelist and masquerade MC at several regional cons and one Worldcon. I wrote fan fiction, married an APAhacker, and participated in regular D&D runs until recently. I didn't go to cons for a while due to financial problems, but I'm going to Readercon next weekend. I'm also in the SCA.
And I thought this book was hilarious, and very much on point when it came to cons. I know a lot of fen who hated it because it stereotyped fandom...unfortunately, they forgot to remove the beam from their own eyes when contemplating the mote in Sharyn McCrumb's. This is a devastatingly accurate portrait of a small con, down to the enthusiastic fen who do nothing except write comments for each other's zines. There are plenty of everyday, normal weight folk who go to cons and live their lives, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of the Bernard Buchanans out there.
I loved it. And I really wish she'd write a third book in the series, maybe set at an SCA war. I know Mary Pulver did it already, but McCrumb can write her into the ground....
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this book down!, March 3, 1999
By A Customer
I thought that Highland Laddie Gone, in Ms. McCrumb's "Elizabeth MacPherson" series was one of the funniest mysteries I'd ever read. That was until I picked up this book and spent one side-splitting night reading it.
As a person who has attended various science fiction conventions, I recognized many of the characters in the book. The characterizations are too funny and very realistic.
Dr. James Owen Mega (aka Jay Omega) is an engineering professor at the local college, and the author of "Bimbos of the Death Sun", a new science fiction novel. He is attending his first science fiction convention as a guest author, and is bewildered to discover that he has literally entered another world. Guiding Dr. Mega through the world of sci fi fandom is english professor, Dr. Marion Farley, Emma Peel fan and Dr. Mega's significant other.
The entire convention is thrown into a tailspin when the main guest of honor, author Appin Dungannon, is found murdered in his hotel room. Jay and Marion decide to help the police discover who would kill him.
A must for anyone who has ever attended a science fiction convention.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in the sci-fi-con murder subgenre, June 7, 2001
The sci-fi-con murder subgenre, you ask? Well, yes, there is a whole subgenre of murder mysteries where the murder takes place at a science fiction convention. (There are similar subgenres of murders that take place at romance writers' conventions, and at mystery writers' conventions...) The worst - and therefore funniest - stereotypes about the bad habits of science fiction geeks are brought out. The costumed wackos, the people who can't stand real life and escape into Star Trek, the dedicated gamers... the slightly lost, slightly underweight guys who sometimes forget to eat...
I'd say this book is tied for my favorite in the subgenre; my other top favorite is _Sci-Fi_ by William Marshall, which takes place at a science fiction convention in Hong Kong. (It's out of print, but as of this moment, there may be a used copy available...) If you read both books back to back, your stomach muscles will hurt from laughing.
One of the things that annoyed me about the title of the book, funny as it is, is that when the book first came out, bookstores kept classifying it under science fiction instead of mystery; luckily I read both, so I found it.
Other than that confusion about the title, nothing whatsoever was wrong with this book. It was funny all the way through. So what if the nasty little author who got murdered was a stereotype of nasty, demanding, little authors? He was funny!! Our hero is a bit of a stereotype of the absentminded young professor, too, but he's funny also! Only the pickiest reader would mind a little bit of stereotyping in order to move the plot along at its hysterically funny pace.
One of my favorite bit characters in the book was the Scottish folksinger. As he's thinking about heading home to Scotland from his American gig, he's contemplating what he's going to tell his friends when they ask what he did in America: "I fed candy to the Martians." There's also a great cop, who delivers a very funny "I love this job!" There's not a bad line in the book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU WILL LAUGH UNTIL IT HURTS!, September 28, 2000
This is without a doubt the FUNNIEST mystery I have ever read! Sharyn McCrumb is a gifted author with a real flair for creating voice, character and setting. In this case, the setting is a science fiction convention and the characters range from the scholarly Dr. James Owen Mega (aka "Jay Omega") and Marion, a professor. These two literati encounter an ecelectic group of students, people dressed as sci-fi characters, authors and other interested parties. Appin Dungannon, a man small in stature and long in chutzpah and crudity dominates the convention. An angry little dynamo, he manages to deliberately rile everybody at that convention. He ends up dead and the REAL mystery is WHO DID IT?
I have never read such a hilarious mystery as this. As good as its sequel, "Zombies of the Gene Pool" is, this book is still the better of the two. The characters who have actually crossed over and believe they ARE the sci-fi characters and good old Appin himself will leave you laughing. One singularly hilarious part in the book is when Appin refuses to autograph his books. When pressed by an autograph hound, Appin signs the name of another very well known author, thus enraging the autograph hounds. This book is a work of comic art. I loved it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comedy/mystery for the misfit in us all, November 15, 2003
By 
J. Fuchs "jax76" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
As mysteries go, this book isn't much, but as a comedy/life study it still ranks as one of the best, in spite of being slightly outdated.
Sharyn McCrumb is a noted mystery writer, better known for her serious work, but here she sets her "mystery" at a sci fi/fantasy convention filled with a host of zany misfits and social outcasts and pays homage to a slew of science fiction and fantasy greats. The author shows a genuine fondness and respect for the people who are grocers, hotel workers and students in their every day lives, but come alive when given a chance to get together with their fellow geeks and dress up as sci fi/fantasy characters to play role-playing games, watch classic old movies and hear well-known authors speak. One such author is Appin Dungannon, the diminutive and hostile writer of a fantasy series featuring the Celtic warrior Tratyn Runewind, who is the source of both the author's fame and his reknowned wrath and disdain for his fans. When the author turns up dead at a sci fi/fantasy convention, Lt. Ayhran, the police officer assigned to investigate the murder, must deal with wargamers, elves, filksingers and Jay Omega, an engineering Ph.D. who has written the unfortunately titled "Bimbos of the Death Sun," and is attending his first con with his folklore professor girlfriend, Marion. The two team up with the police to help solve the murder, but not before taking us on an adventure through the world of the fantasy convention. I fell in love with the fat girls, the skinny nerds, the would-be authors, the tech geeks, and all the other characters that populate this novel. The book is laugh out loud funny in places, educational about folklore, and compassionate in the extreme. A fun, quick read that you'll come back to time and time again, because even when you know who did it, you'll still want to hang out with the characters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked "Galaxy Quest", buy this. NOW!, March 16, 2001
By 
Stephen Dedman (Bayswater, WA Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"Bimbos of the Death Sun" is the only murder mystery novel I've ever solved by reading the back cover blurb, but if you've ever been to a science fiction convention, you're bound to recognise most of the characters in this book and laugh out loud (and maybe cringe a little) when you do. Its caricature of the best-selling fantasy author is even less flattering than its portrayal of fans and gamers, but you can have hours of fun trying to work out who it's based on. If you live somewhere where you can't get to enough conventions and are feeling nostalgic, or if you've just run one and need cheering up, this is the perfect book for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll laugh until your face hurts!, December 16, 1997
A university engineer and computer nerd writes his theories as science fiction, the publisher gives the book a racy title, and suddenly he's invited to a SF convention. And he thought *he* was odd... When the star author is found murdered, guess who has to help the poor detective figure out who done it, who existed, who was imaginary, and how do the computer illiterate find clues on the computer, anyway? Every character is well drawn, the plot believable, and the entire situation is hysterically funny. Flaunt this book at all your friends, carry it prominently on public transportation, and never, ever loan your copy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll laugh because it hurts, August 24, 2001
By 
Victor Catano (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This isn't much of a mystery. (The reviewer who said he solved it by reading the back cover blurb was dead on.) The murder doesn't occur until halfway into the novel and then there really aren't any suspects to speak of. But... As a look at the cultish world of SF Cons and SF in general, it is flat out hilarious! Anyone who has set foot inside a Holiday Inn ballroom during a con will recognize the characters and probably see a little bit of themselves: All those annoying "filk" singers, overweight virgins in Spock ears, horrible fan fiction ("The D&D transcripts are in that pile, the Dune ripoffs are over there...") Some have said that the book is too mean towards the world of fandom, but I don't think so. This is a brilliant, comic roast, done by someone who has genuine affection for the characters she is skewering. You need to read this if you want a good laugh.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful satire disguised as a whodunnit., December 7, 1998
By A Customer
I have noticed a tendancy for reviewers of Ms. McCrumb's "Ballad Series" books to criticize her other, humorous, novels. I should like to ask if these folks can understand satire. This is an absolutely wonderful satire of science fiction conventions (as an old fan of the genre, I refuse to use cutesy pie nicknames). She uses a mystery plot to thinly disguise her rapier thrusts of satire and I laughed so hard that I had tears running down my face. This book is as wonderful in its lampoon of science fiction and its fans as her book "Highland Laddie Gone" is a satire of the American Scottish games circuit (the Scottish Liberation Army, indeed!). If you look at these novels as they must have been intended, they are hilarious.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical. Read it now! SF Cons get the pasting they Earn., July 9, 1997
By A Customer
Bimbos of the Death Sun, title aside, is a hysterical send-up of SF conventions, the events at SF cons, and the people who frequent them.

While the author claims to have not pointed any of the stereotypes at any individual, I know individuals that I could fit to each of the people in the book.

My spouse looked at me like I was nuts, because I kept giggling. Then she grabbed the book, and started reading, and I had to YANK to get it back.

I suspect she'll be reading it tonight. She started in the the middle, and was giggling before she hit the first paragraph break.
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Bimbos of the Death Sun
Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb
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