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I looked forward to his latest masterpiece, Sorry and Morticum, til dismay hit when i discovered this was a science fiction story. Science Fiction is way down at the bottom of my list for reading material. Almost didn't bother. Why I stuck with it under those circumstances is anybody's guess, but I did. And I'm really glad I did. This is a story about weird creatures who think and behave as many humans would nowdays. But it all takes place in the time frame of years 3000 +, and much of the population is 200 years old - or more.
Problems caused by those who lived during the 1900 - 2000 years in the world that currently exists have developed. We are brought face-to-face with a myriad of species who want to leave a better place for their progeny. Their desire to do that seems impossible since there is a measure of discord with arguments about what should be done or not done to accomplish a mutual goal. This story is filled with humor, psychology and doesn't stray far from reality.
If you're looking for a break from monotony of day-to-day get this one. You'll be glad you did. A lot of laughs, some common sense, some psychology. Delightful all the way through. Now I know why I got caught up in this book: Mr Stoll's writing. It'll catch you every time.
Stoll has a really wonderful writing style, it’s quite difficult to describe but it’s the driest kind of humour and manages to put a number of philosophical points in without making it dull.
His characters are bizarre, varied and magnificent. He spits on the naming conventions of our world and just names them whatever he hell he wants, which is how I came to find myself reading about Busy, the dexterous boob lady; Sorry, the cantankerous wizard who just needs to see the world differently and Seafog… the weather. It works wonderfully and I really enjoyed all of the characters and their different perspectives.
The story kind of does its own thing, Sorry has found a new lease on life and is now determined to do everything he can to make sure that the world learns from its past to ensure that his family has the best possible future. Of course, the one thing that becomes glaringly obvious is that ‘good’ is a very subjective concept so looking at the past doesn’t bring everyone to the same conclusion about which ‘good’ parts of the past they should look to. This book is an exploration of that.
Stoll has a lot of profound and philosophical messages he wants to impart through his work, ranging from climate change, religion and sexuality. For the most part, he weaves all of these seamlessly into his story but nearer the end you get the feeling that he had so much more to say but had realised he was running out of space to say it – I found this disappointing because I really enjoy the philosophical side of Stoll’s work, I think he either needs to give in and write longer books or economise his issues per book and just accept he needs to write more books for me to enjoy!
Imaginative is also the best term to describe the characters who do all the “ramming” in this often comic tale. First, there’s Sorry, a 468 year old gay wizard. His partner is Morticum, a much younger man, er, werewolf. He’s only 257 years old. For a hundred years, they have lived together in a castle with many chambers and underground secrets.
Now, it’s the year 3022 when most of the water on earth has become the airborne Seafog, an entity that can penetrate most anything and has its own consciousness and a mischievous nature. There’s Busy, an armless mutant with long and skinny breasts that act like erotic tentacles. There’s Oceana, the sprite who’s difficult to see and usually lives deep in the ocean. There’s Strugglejay, Sorry’s son, a disappointing chip off the old wizard’s genetic block. And there are two twelve-foot cockroaches who can communicate with humans when they wear special blue helmets.
And these are just the major players in a future that will take place after a worldwide peace has come for the human minority, the robot wars, the insect wars, and the climate wars. Now Sorry, who has seen it all, hopes to restore the world to what it was like during the Second Renaissance and needs a cooperative army of farmers and construction workers made up of mutants, freemonkeys, the untrustworthy Mutmuts along with his other willing compatriots.
Author Charles Stoll takes his time to set up his tableau and introduce us to his vividly described characters. So it takes quite a few pages before any sort of plot begins to kick in. When the jeopardies and complications do start to interfere with the best-laid plans of the old wizard, the surprises and twists and turns continue until the last paragraph.
Stoll’s previous novels include Enigma (2014) and The Time Thief (2015). According to publicity for the author, all his books portray “philosophy, spirituality, and sexuality as they actually exist in the present day.” Hmm. I can’t speak for his previous works, but you’ll have to dig very deep beneath the surface of Sorry and Morticum to recognize anything from the present day.
True, in between all the wild and outlandish character descriptions and events, you’ll read insightful discussions on philosophical and especially spiritual points. The sex is often very unlikely coupling, but it’s all part of the fun. This is a very entertaining adventure with no small bounty of laughs. Sorry and Morticum defies all expectations and genre definitions, which is rarer than you might think in today’s glutted climate of sci fi novels.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com at:
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He shared his imagination in a beautifully crafted story. Well done to the author