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Go, Mutants!: A Novel

by Larry Doyle

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797345,780 (3.69)8
Describes the adventures of J!m, the brooding blue-skinned rebel son of an alien that nearly destroyed the Earth, and Johnny, a leather-jacketed radioactive ape, as the pair navigate adolescence in the future.
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Go, Mutants!
Author: Larry Doyle
Publisher: Ecco, HarperCollinsPublisher
Published In: New York City, NY, USA
Date: 2010
Pgs: 354

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
What if all those 50s sci fi movies were Earth’s actual history of the era? What would the world look like by 1959 or the early 60s? Earth has survived repeated alien invasions, attacks by hordes of mutants, and the ravages of ancient beasts coming back to life. Now we’re in the blissful future...for most. J!m, the son of the alien who nearly destroyed the planet, is a brooding, megacephalic rebel with a big forehead and exceptionally oily skin. Along with Johnny, a radioactive biker ape, and Jelly, a gelatinous mass passing as a fat kid, J!m navigates a particularly unpleasant adolescence in which he really is as alienated as he feels, the world might actually be out to get him, and true love is complicated by misunderstanding and incompatible parts. As harmless school antics escalate into explosive events with tragic consequences, J!m makes a discovery that will alter the course of civilization, though it may help his dating life. Replete with all the rock ‘n’ roll, hot rod racing, and heavy petting of classic teen cinema.

Genre:
Adventure
Apocalypse
End of the World
Fiction
Pulp
Quirk
Science fiction
Space opera
Superheroes
Zombies

Why this book:
The big headed teen on the cover looking very Mindflayer-ish in a 50s high school, angsty, James Dean sorta way.

______________________________________________________________________________

Favorite Character:
J!m the hypercephalic, metazoid alien.

Johnny the radioactive biker ape.

Least Favorite Character:
Russ the human bully and his grandpa, the General.

The Feel:
Amongst the aliens and mutants and teenagers, there’s some echoes of a horrible high school experience playing out here. Well done.

Favorite Scene:
The scene where Jelly the protoplasmic mutant gets a swirly and is sucked down the High School bathroom toilet and loses his way coming back out ending up in the Principal Brook’s bathroom eliciting a scream though whether delight or fright is never stated. This is very Porky’s like.

When J!m gets excited and isn’t paying attention to the way he is walking and let’s slip his human gait and starts walking up on his phalanges and looking like a speedwalking T-Rex.

When Tubesteak is in the backseat at the Drive-In with his date and she asks him why he’s called Tubesteak as she snuggles up to him and he says, “Because I love me some tubesteak.” No explanation. She’s disappointed. And the reader is left to wonder if Tubesteak just came out of the closet, is bi, or if tubesteak in this mutant world is some odd form of mutant worm or cattle snake. ...I doubt the last one.

Pacing:
The pacing was good. But after wandering through the plot, the climax seemed rushed.

Hmm Moments:
Not so much a hmm moment as a yuck moment, J!m has a brainstorm with lightning and cracking thunder causing him to momentarily lose consciousness. And as he regains himself, Dr. Rand puts his finger on the area where the lightning was visible on J!m’s megacephalic brain. Then, as J!m walks away the Doc sniffs the jellylike stuff from the surface of J!m’s brain...and, then, sucks it off his finger. Yuck!!!.

Doc Rand hanging out at the strip club where J!m’s mother works while he is supposed to be out trying to find a “fresh” body for his wife’s head. Very Reanimator.

The government didn’t control the Plex. “They had learned, as Stalin had not, that the truth could not be destroyed, but could be lost among lies.” Great line and social commentary on modern America.

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
Too much to the story. Couldn’t do it justice in a 3 hour movie. Too many references to other copyrighted materials. Would never fly on the big screen.

______________________________________________________________________________

Last Page Sound:
That was weird.

Author Assessment:
This is very Grant Morrison-y. Depending on the payoff of this story, I will give more stuff by this author a look.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
really good book

Disposition of Book:
Half Price Books

Would recommend to:
genre fans

____________________________________________________________________________

Errata:
The Thing being mentioned as being at the Pole and in opposition with the Army is a cool shout out to a great classic movie. In the same paragraph, the Army is mentioned as being active in the Ozarks and in Brazil. I wonder what is going on in those two places. ( )
  texascheeseman | Jan 7, 2015 |
Update: I've finished reading and this was an extremely witty, highly entertaining book. The references to B-rated horror movies and 50s & 60s pop culture are endless, some of which I expected and some I didn't. J!m is the epitome of the teenaged outsider...an alien. Most of his friends are atomic mutants with parents out of black and white monster flicks.
It's hard to believe no one has already written this book, but I doubt anyone could have done it better than Doyle. My only complaint? I need more! Sequel, anyone?

I've won a copy of Go, Mutants! on First Reads and am very excited about reading it. ( )
  Athenable | Jan 10, 2014 |
"Grease" collides with "Mars Attacks", and a bit of "Rebel Without a Cause" creeps in as well.
Teenage alienation and, well, aliens. Plus a lot of mutants. Coming of age, genetic inheritance, and the cute girl he's afraid to ask out; motorcycles, drive-ins, and succubi cocktail waitresses.
The characters are surprisingly sympathetic - the author, while being gleefully silly, manages to make the reader care about the protagonist. ( )
  amandrake | Apr 4, 2013 |
Earth has survived numerous invasions by aliens and attacks by ancient monsters brought back to life. Some of these aliens are in high school.

J!m Anderson is your typical sullen, brooding teenager at Manhattan High School. Well, maybe he's not so typical, because he has a large, megacephalic head, and oily, blue skin which he occasionally sheds like a snake. Along with Johnny, a motorcycle-riding radioactive ape, and Larry, a gelatinous mass playing the role of the "fat kid" (Son of the Blob), J!m really does have a hard time making his way through the world of high school. Maybe people really are out to get him; after all, his father is the one who led the alien invasion of Earth.

The Harvest Dance is coming, and J!m is supposed to ask Marie Rand if she would like to go with him. Her father is the school's biology teacher, and one of those people who likes to tinker in his garage. Mrs. Rand is a disembodied head who is constantly nagging Mr. Rand to find a body to which to attach her head. The body she was using is no longer viable, but it's kept in a freezer for posterity. Despite numerous opportunities, J!m never gets around to asking Marie to the dance, so she goes with Russ, J!m's bitter enemy.

J!m has a permanent exemption from showering after gym class, for anatomical reasons that are forcefully revealed by the local bullies, led by Russ, at the local drive-in. Later, during another Russ-led attempt to get rid of J!m, once and for all, J!m catches on fire, is severely burned, and dies. But not really, because he recovers in a couple of days, and is now a solar-powered being with skin as hard as diamonds (puberty rears its ugly head).

Larry is thrown into an animal cage during a field trip. Approximately a cupful of his mass is retrieved. Mr. Rand is able to do something about that, with help from some jumper cables and a car battery. Later comes the climactic scene, where Russ forces Marie into his atomic-powered car, with J!m in hot pursuit. Just before the car goes over a cliff, Marie is thrown from the car, and severely injured. Does Marie survive? Does J!m learn the truth about his father? Can Larry be resurrected?

This is an absolute gem of a book. As a former writer for "The Simpsons," Doyle certainly knows how to do satire. It's got everything a 1950s teen story needs: a sullen, rebellious main character, bullies, a chase scene and a drive-in. This is very highly recommended. ( )
  plappen | Aug 9, 2011 |
So you think it’s tough being a teenager these days? Alienation, oily skin, watching your childhood sweetheart go out with your lifelong enemy; it’s all part of the package. Try putting yourself in the shoes of J!m (no, not a typo), the hero of Larry Doyle’s hilarious send-up of the B-movies and pop culture of the fifties and sixties, “Go Mutants!” (HarperCollins, 2010).
J!m is the son of an alien who appeared on earth during Bobby Thomson’s 1951 “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” game-ending home-run to win the National League pennant game for the New York Giants against the Brooklyn Dodgers. J!m’s father came to tell the world that he could offer them scientific and technological advances, if only they agreed to destroy their atomic weapons.
This being the Cold War era, the proposal went over like a plutonium balloon. Nuclear war left in its wake a world populated by humans, B-movie monsters, and aliens. J!m’s father soon “disappeared,” but not before mating with a lovely cat-woman and creating J!m, a blue-skinned son whose “forehead was quite high, approximately ten inches, and bulging with brains, but even this evoked the slick upswept hairstyle favored by singers and delinquents, without the hair.” J!m, a James Dean-style rebel, is in love with his childhood sweetheart, Marie, the human daughter of a mad scientist, Dr. Rand, and his wife, a severed head who constantly nags her husband for that new body he’s been promising her for years. Along with Johnny, a half-human radioactive biker ape with strong connections to King Kong, and Larry “Jelly” Sweeny, a gelatinous blob posing as a fat kid, J!m navigates the politics of high school with humans, mutants, and aliens.
The book abounds with pop-culture references in this alternate universe. Democratic presidential nominee Jack Kennedy denies that he is having an affair with his running mate, Marilyn Monroe. Elvis performs with his conjoined twin Jesse (a reference to Elvis’s real twin brother who died at birth).
Even the construction of the novel is fun. Each chapter title appears in the style of old B-movie taglines: “Your flesh will crawl.” “A SAVAGE LUST…to Kill!” There’s even an intermission.
Larry Doyle, the author of “I Love Your, Beth Cooper” (which was made into a movie starring Hayden Panettiere and Paul Rust) and former writer for The Simpsons, has written a hilarious sci-fi romp that’s just lots of fun to read.

This review was published in the News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, IL) September 5, 2010. ( )
  slatta | Sep 5, 2010 |
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Describes the adventures of J!m, the brooding blue-skinned rebel son of an alien that nearly destroyed the Earth, and Johnny, a leather-jacketed radioactive ape, as the pair navigate adolescence in the future.

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