ENORMITY by Nick Milligan

enormityWishful wishing as sci fi.   Say you are an entertainment journalist.  Say you cover film and music.  Say you interview a lot of rock stars.  Say you wish you were a rock star with all that money, all that fame, all those drugs, all those babes.  Say you can’t play a note on any instrument and your singing voice sounds like two cats having an argument in an alley.  How do you get to be a rock star?   In your head, dude, that’s how.  You create one, and plunk him down on another planet, with more or less instant success parlaying songs he is copying from his home planet and claiming as his own.   That’s what being an author can do for you.  YOu can be whoever you want to be.

Jack had dreams of being a famous musician.  But he went into the space program instead and became an astronaut.  But his vehicle exploded way out in the back of beyond somewhere, killing his two crewmates.  Lucky him…. he happened to be in the area of the escape pods and was able to leave the ship, crashing down into the sea of a nearby planet.  And the name of that planet?  Heaven.  Yes.  It’s true.   And when the folks on that planet die, they talk about the bad people going to Earth.

So he destroys his pod, figuring that anyone who finds him will want to be experimenting on his now alien body, so he would like to keep a really low profile, and crawls ashore, where he shortly finds that the people look just like humans, and ….. wonder of wonders …. speak English!!!  Yeah, I know, right?  But I figure this:  if you are going to create the ideal fantasy life for yourself, why make it harder than it has to be.  Being a stranger in a strange land is tough enough without having to learn not just a foreign language, but an alien foreign language.   So anyway, he conveniently finds a guitar, practices a bit and then begins to busk in one of the parks for money for food.  One thing leads to another and he becomes a big hit, a recording company hears of him, and snags him for their label.  He becomes immensely popular, and his band….. get this …. the Big Bang Theory…. are megastars.

He has money, fame, drugs and dames, and everyone thinks his music is divine and that he is a wunderkind.

So, OK, the first part of the book sounds like the life of Keith Richards — drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll.  Actually, most of it sounds like Keith Richards’ life.   Kind of like a twenty-year old young man’s wet dream.   I should think it would appeal greatly to those of a male persuasion under thirty, what with the erotica (that’s a euphemism for sex scenes).  It’s a little like a pornographic Lake Woebegone, where all the men are studs and all the women extremely well built, and everybody totally into drugs and sex.

But slowly, the tenor changes, and we begin to suspect there is more to Jack than stealing copyrighted music from another planet and passing it off as his own.  And as his fame grows, so does the visibility of a sinister cult which apparently thinks Jack is an angel savior come for them.  Damn!  Get the kool-aid ready, cause time’s a-wasting.  There is a kicker ending, not so much a denouement as a climax, (you’ll pardon the expression), a growing body of knowledge that makes us smack our foreheads because we sooooo should have seen it coming, but we were sucked up with everyone else into the Fast Times at Ridgemont High, singing along and snorting up the Lovin’ Spoonful.

This is a book that asks the question:  where does hedonism end and evil begin?  On Heaven? Or on Earth?   What happens when there is no evil?  Does that vacuum need to be filled?

enormity

noun

  1. outrageous or heinous character; atrociousness; an outrageous or heinous act; evil:  the enormity of war crimes.
  2. greatness of size, scope, extent, or influence; immensity:  the enormity of the situation dawned on them.

 

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3 comments on “ENORMITY by Nick Milligan

  1. Deb Atwood says:

    Wow, amazing review! I just love your writing voice. I had such fun reading this review…and loving all the allusions along the way. One question: Do you recommend this book?

  2. Marti says:

    I really really enjoyed it. Yes, definitely recommend it.

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