Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: The Rockman Chronicles: Trials of Galactar

John Rockman and the Trials of Galactar
Rockman’s eyes opened slowly. The virtual room he saw was rectangular, and yes, it was a room. Luckily it wasn’t the air-flight scenario. Rockman was even more lucky it wasn’t the Easter Egg-Hunt Challenge, which could take light-months to complete, the END SCENARIO button only making itself visible after all the colored eggs were discovered and placed into a small basket.

-John Rockman and the Trials of Galactar
Ron Jockman: author, polymath, visionary. Future generations will look back upon the day that Ron Jockman first began to write fiction, and they will say to each other, in hushed tones, “That was when history began.” How privileged are we, to be alive at a time when he still writes (because, in the present, as opposed to the future, when future generations will live, he isn't dead yet?)

He is a genius of the written word. His every clicky little typewriter typing sound seems to cry to the mountains, “Brilliant!” And he’s a really fast typist, too, so all those “brilliants” merge into a glorious cacophony of splendor, echoing through the halls of his pages.
“Haven’t they ever seen a dweeby-eyed, naked, hairy pig-bodied floating bloated whore-gnome before?” Palthron spat.

Or, possibly, he’s just another inept nitwit with delusions of adequacy.

The Rockman Chronicles: John Rockman and the Trials of Galactar by the Prince of Galactar, by Ron Jockman, is not a book by Ron Jockman. It isn’t a book by the Prince of Galactar, either, because I’m pretty sure he’s fictional. Like Ron Jockman is.

She recoiled again, like a hobo being peed upon.
With me so far?

You see, Ron Jockman is the invention of Justin and Mitchell Lucas, authors who purposefully set out to write one of the worst books in all of English literature.

They forged the persona of Ron Jockman, pouring into him all the clich├ęs, all the Mary Sues, and all the inane plot points they could conjure. From the fire of their minds did Ron Jockman emerge, one hack to rule them all.

Ron writes with a halting, easily distracted, and conversational style. He doesn't believe in editing, so he never stops to reconsider his prose, nor apparently to consider it much in the first place. The resulting stream of pompousness is a dirty window into a disturbed mind.
Rockman stood behind Maria, and had a hard time seeing past her with all the luggage he had her carrying.

Apart from that, Ron has some deeply revealing authorial tics. For example, he has a hard time keeping his low opinion of women to himself. He can’t stop gushing over the manly might and splendor of his protagonist, the subtly named John Rockman. Oh and, his penchant for describing scientific phenomena is by no means proportional to his actual knowledge of science.

The nearest star was miles away, so it was completely dark.
Since he refuses to go back and add material to what he already wrote, he often has to add new details on the fly, right in the middle of a scene, just to keep the plot moving. Call it “Chekov’s Just-In-Time Delivery,” in which the gun that goes off in Act 2 must be put on the wall one sentence beforehand.

The hero of the tale, John Rockman, is a man with medium-length auburn hair, who could really use his laser pistol right about now. Rockman is everything to everyone, and vice-versa. He's a shining beacon of honor, an expert in all important skills, and a true space-age Adonis—gleaming with virtue and resolve-sweat.
Rockman ducked his tall form under a large black pipe that contained wires for the control units. He narrowly avoided hitting his square, manly, face on a valve. Some steam blew out of another pipe and rustled his flowing, brown, medium length hair. He had to turn sideways to fit past another set of pipes because of how big his muscles were.
His companion on this journey is the beautiful and inept Maria Ozone, a member of the frail, over-emotional Femaiel race. She's the dolt to his daredevil, the yin to his wang. But she isn't just the love interest. She also helps drive the plot—mostly by breaking important stuff. Hey, maybe she's related to Clark Kent?

We follow Rockman and Maria through a series of rambling adventures, strung end to end with the feeblest of narrative threads. What appears to be a straightforward delivery mission is fouled by inscrutable plot devices, and Rockman is forced to battle space eels, space pirates, space princes, space gladiators, and just plain space. It’s the kind of story that’s at its best when most baffling.

She started cleaning her nurse’s examination tools and thinking more about Rockman. She was a nurse this entire time.

The book is a skillfully executed parody, and I loved it. However, I must admit that it’s made for a niche interest. If you have an appreciation for trainwreck literature, you’ll probably like it. If you enjoy stern-faced, ironic parodies in the vein of Look Around You, you’ll almost certainly like it. Otherwise, you may not enjoy this one. I recommend taking a taste, however, just to make sure. If you are the right sort of person for a book like this, and you pass it up, then you're missing out on something wonderful.

If I have a complaint against the book, it's that the constant barrage of irony, as well crafted as it is, becomes wearing. Even a born cynic such as myself had to take frequent breaks, reading more forthright novels in between chapters of this one, to avoid sarcasm burnout.

Therefore, I’m awarding John Rockman and the Trials of Galactar five fake-looking rocketships and a score of, “Try a sample chapter. You’ll soon know if you like it.”

Five rockets
 Try a sample chapter. You'll soon know if you like it.

The Rockman Chronicles: John Rockman and the Trials of Galactar by the Prince of Galactar is available in e-book format at Amazon.com, for the low low price of $2.99. As always, I receive no commissions or kickbacks when you follow that link.

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