Sunday, February 28, 2010
Publisher's Weekly just doesn't understand pulp fiction. "Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the nineteenth century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. " ~Wikipedia Christopher Rowley, on the other hand, has a firm grasp of the genre. Pleasure Model by Christopher Rowley, the first book in the Netherworld Series, is a fast-paced, action oriented bit of pulp that doesn't pretend to be anything other than the light-weight, sexy piece of work that it is. Set in the mid-Twenty First century, "Pleasure Model" details a future in which the government is full of corruption and the police are just as likely to be treacherous. Rook is one of the few honest police detectives left and he finds himself running for his life soon after he begins investigating the murder of a retired General. But it's not Rook the killers are really interested in. Plesur, an illegally grown "mod"-- essentially a lab-grown human being designed for sex-- has been found in the General's home and she may know why the man was murdered. "Pleasure Model" is a book that can almost be read in one sitting. Only 240 pages and full of illustrations, it's literally fast and furious with a B-movie feel to it. Publisher's Weekly would have you believe this book is nothing more than a bunch of misogynistic nonsense, but I think they've got it wrong. No one that picks up a book called "Pleasure Model," a world in which genetically engineered women are designed to physically perfect but dumb so they can be sexually exploited, should be expecting a feminist manifesto. The female characters run the gamut from prostitutes, dominatrices and cops, and they might seem a little disposable; but they're also trying to survive in a brutal world. Think "Sin City" and you'll have a good idea of the kind of characters I'm talking about. "Pleasure Model" is as fun to read as it's cover suggests. It's not meant to be deep and it does have its dues ex machina moments; but the technology is cool and the action comes quick and with brutal efficiency. The cliff-hanger ending might annoy you a little-- but it will definitely leave you itching for the next book in the series.