Striped Holes
Damien Broderick

Cover This is a seriously funny book. It insults everything and everyone, unfortunately this also includes the readers intelligence in a few places. But before I go into that a bit about the book.

There are few main characters, Sopwith Hammil, present day media personality, Hsia Shan-yun, mind-crackingly ugly deviant from 197 years in the future, O'Flaherty Gribble, astrology, with 3 doctorates, 2 diploma's (one in surf lifesaving) and a licentiate, Joe Wagner, 42 year old non-entity and Mr. and Mrs. Diode from Alpha Grommett.

The book opens with Sopwith. He was having quite a good day until a two meter loaf of bread appeared on his stiched leather sofa and a lengthwise sliced piece of it began talking to him.

While this is going on, 197 years in the future the mind-crackingly ugly, Valkyrie like, nearly two metre tall, with jade green eyes and a wild mane of long black hair, Hsia Shan-yun has a few problems of her own. She was planning to blow up one of the biggest data stores with a ten dimensional striped hole secreted within her person when she gets arrested, hyperspatially morphologically restructured and exiled to prison planet ZRL-25591.

O'Flaherty enters the story being interviewed by Sopwith and is not having his new discovery of the Callisto Effect being taken terribly seriously. After the interview he rushes off to the airport so he can get to Sydney to prove his theory. He ends up seated nest to God on the flight. God seems an amiable enough fellow, though he used to be a big game hunter.

Joe Wagner wakes up on his forty-second birthday and on his way to work becomes the object of unquenchable desire for every woman. Why this happens is something best left explained in the book.

Bruce Diode looks like an early Singer sewing machine with bits added and Sally Diode looks like a 1940's valve radio with a big, yellow, back-lit, tuning dial. They are having a few marital problems and each independently turns to the saurian agony arm from Gamma Globulin, Emily Aardwimble, and her Intelligencer column, For the Love-Lorn, printed under her nom de plume, Meg Kindheart. They also seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with anything else going on in the book.

Damien does manage to tie all of this, except for Bruce and Sally, together into a story of ludicrous imagination.

The story is told as if Damien was recounting it direct to you over a few jars down the local. There are numerous humorous and witty asides direct to the reader that have nothing to do with the story. It makes for a very interesting read.

Unfortunately it is some of these asides that are the biggest drawback to the book. Some of them are explaining mind-numbingly simple ideas that would have been better lest unexplained. It doesn't credit the reader with any intelligence. It doesn't happen all the time. A lot of the ideas are only explained by their context within the story and a few more should have been done that way.

As always Damien's writing is superlative. His use of language and the breadth of his vocabulary is astounding, but he still manages to keep the writing easy to read. It never becomes turgid or pretentious, like so much within Literature.

My only other gripe about the book is the ending. It doesn't really have one. It just stops with a lot of things inadequately explained or concluded.

I would highly recommend this book for a few hours laughs.