|Island of the Sequined Love Nun|
|Avon Books, 325 pages |
|A review by Steven H Silver|
Case is a typical Moore character: A perfectly normal person, perhaps something of a loser, who finds himself in incredible situations. Case has recently lost his job after crashing the pink corporate jet he flew for Mary Jean Cosmetics while trying to help a hooker enter the Mile High Club. Without a pilot's license and possibly facing charges, Case gladly accepts when Curtis offers him the job in Alualu.
En route to the island, Case meets up with Kimi, a Filipino transvestite prostitute and his talking fruit bat, Roberto. These two see Case through a series of adventures which result in Case's arrival on Alualu, where the fun really begins.
Mostly, Moore's books are fun. Island of the Sequined Love Nun is his fourth novel and each one has been funny and well written. I would unhesitatingly recommend any of the four. However, he does manage to examine issues in addition to merely talking a good story. In Island of the Sequined Love Nun, he explores the role of religion and hypocrisy, a common ground for satire which is often overdone and not enjoyable. Perhaps because he avoids taking too many pokes at major religions, concentrating instead on an imaginary cult on an imaginary island, Moore does a better job than most. In fact, what he really is examining is the role of faith. Despite a variety of indications that Curtis and Beth are not representatives of Vincent (Beth can even walk unmolested among them as a normal woman when she is not wearing her Sky Priestess outfit), the faith of the islanders has them believing in the religion which has grown up around Vincent. This faith is a true and good thing, allowing the islanders to account for the paradoxes which would otherwise destroy their belief. Even Sarapul, the cannibal who tries to cling to the old ways, maintains his faith, hardly begrudging his fellow islanders their faith (although he wouldn't mind a nice human sandwich on occasion).
Ethics and retributions, however, are two areas which Moore touches on briefly but in the end gives a only a vague discussion. Several of the antagonists in the novel receive no punishment in the course of a novel, a situation which may mirror life, but generally is avoided in novels, especially when dealing with religion and faith. This oversight does not detract from Moore's denouement in any perceivable way.
Humor is a difficult thing to write, yet Moore has consistently turned out funny novels (although as I read some passages aloud to my wife I realized how much they need to be taken in context). Moore is an author who, with the right publicity, should quickly be able to find a large and appreciative audience.
Steven H Silver is one of the founders and judges for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. He sits on concoms for Windycon, Chicon 2000 and Clavius in 2001 and is co-chair of Picnicon 1998. Steven will be serving as the Programming Chairman for Chicon 2000. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is trying to get his short stories published and has recently finished his first novel. He lives at home with his wife and 3200 books. He is available for convention panels.
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