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Crabs' Moon

Crab's Moon - Guy N. Smith Nobody in this book is remotely interesting to me, but you want to know who is interesting? Guy N. Smith. I don’t know exactly what’s up with him. Maybe his brain is wired differently from other peoples‘. Maybe he’s been the subject of experiments with mild-altering drugs. Maybe he was raised by wild animals and doesn’t know how human beings interact with one another. I’d seriously entertain any of those theories, because one thing is for sure: he brings some very odd ideas to his writing. Here are a few examples:(1) On page 31, we first meet the character Barnaby (no last name given). Here’s the mental image Guy N. Smith paints of him: It was impossible even to guess at his age; he might have been as old as sixty or he could have been a drop-out in his mid-twenties whose body had aged prematurely. Has this ever happened to you? Meeting a person and not being able to reasonably guess at their age to within forty years? I like that bizarre bit of speculation he just tosses off: “maybe a drop-out in his mid-twenties whose body had aged prematurely.” Oh, another one of those, huh? Why the streets are littered with geriatric twenty-somethings, taking advantage of their sixty-like appearance to get senior discounts on the busses and at the matinee. Somebody really ought to do something.(2) Page 71: Her pulses were racing. Hmmm… pulses? I only have one pulse. Do you want to know why? It’s because I only have one heart pumping my blood. I think Dr. Who is supposed to have more than one heart. Maybe he has a plurality of pulses. Unfortunately, he doesn’t make an appearance in this book. (3) On two separate occasions, victims of killer crabs hear a terrible noise, and then gradually come to realize it is the sound of their own voices screaming. Has anybody out there had this experience? Non-volitional screaming, followed by an extended gradual realization that it is oneself doing the screaming? A quick spontaneous vocalization when one is startled is understandable, but a scream sufficiently prolonged to allow one to form the thought “What is that noise?“… I don’t think so. At least nothing like that has ever happened to me, but I must confess, I’ve never been ripped limb from limb by a sixteen foot crab.(4) Staying on the topic of unexpected realizations: Guy Smith likes to write about male characters looking down and suddenly realizing they have an erection. It happens once in this book, and twice in Killer Crabs. Guys, I don’t need to tell you, but ladies, let me fill you in: this is not totally in the realm of fantasy, but it is a stretch… there are admittedly times when a man may reach the full state without realizing it, but for the most part, you generally have some idea of what’s going on before it gets to that. And it is typically a feeling, not a visual clue that alerts one to the condition. To further strain plausibility, Smith usually continues these little episodes with something like “(male character) then smiled to himself, realizing he had been thinking about (female character) and (something sexual about her)”. You know what novel that would work in? Something like The Host, where an alien entity inhabits an unfamiliar body. The idea of an awake, alert and active character developing a full erection without any notion that it is happening, then finally identifying the condition by exclusively visual evidence, and then finding comedy in the idea “Oh! By golly, I was thinking of something sexual!” is just… weird. These scenes Mr. Smith concocts have strong undercurrents of pathologically dissociative thinking. The subjective experience of unlinking the mind and body like this may occur in schizophrenia, or under the influence of LSD, not to normal drug-free individuals. What is wrong with this Guy?(5) The book is set in Wales, but Smith does not use this to full advantage. Wales has some crazy place names… so crazy that Third Reich war planners decided to avoid Wales as a potential invasion route into of Britain, because they didn’t think panzer drivers would be able to successfully navigate through all the confusing names. Here are a few examples of real place names: Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, Pwllgwyngyll, and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlll lantysiliogogogoch! Does everybody see how much better this book would have been with those place names? It’s so obvious.(6) Look at a crab’s face. I don’t even know if “face” is the correct word, but look at the front of a crab. What we might call a face is composed entirely of rigid shell and two little eyes. There isn’t much possibility for different expressions there. In Guy N. Smith’s imagination, however, there is. This book is filled with crabs giving people “evil looks” and “menacing stares”. They’ve got “intelligent eyes”, and -on page 100- a crab gives a little boy a look which communicates the sentiment You escaped me once, but I’ve got you this time! Please explain to me how you convey such a complex idea, when this is what you have to work with: (7) All the martial law scenes? Apocalypse porn and police state predictive programming. I won’t recover old ground here; if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please refer to my review of The Zombie Autopsies.(8) Smith fills these pages with the most unerotic, unappealing sex scenes I’ve ever read. Nymphomaniac Jean Ruddington tortures herself with an endless parade of lovers whom she holds no emotional attachments to. Many of them she doesn’t respect, and some she isn’t even attracted to. She is constantly calling herself a bitch or a whore, and comparing herself to a prostitute. The scene with her and the hippy- the B.O.-smelling, garlic and cigarette-breathed, sweaty hippy with body lice… repulsive. Even under the best of circumstances (e.g. in the service of exploring a complex and fascinating character) these descriptions would be off-putting. To feature them in a trash novel like Crabs’ Moon- where their only purpose is shock value and spectacle- is just an author tormenting readers for his own sick pleasure. My advice: put the lotion back in the basket, tell Guy N. Smith to fuck off, and don’t finish the book. I quit on page 180, and I almost never quit a book before the end. (To his credit, Smith does use the double contraction “I’d’ve” on page 91, which I’m a big fan of.)