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Foop!, by Chris Genoa Book Review | SFReader.com
Foop!, by Chris Genoa Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Eraserhead Press Published: 2005 Review Posted: 10/10/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10
Foop!, by Chris Genoa
Book Review by Benjamin Boulden
Have you read this book?
Foop! is a satirical first novel written by Chris Genoa. It is science fiction comedy in the same vein as "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," although it is not at the same level in either meaning or hilarity. It is the story of Joe, who lives a humdrum, lonely life working as a tour guide for Dactyl, Inc. There is nothing normal about the tours Dactyl offers: they provide history tours for wealthy patrons who can be transported into the past to witness, in person, important historical events. One of their more popular tours is to the Ford Theatre to watch Abraham Lincoln's assassination by the actor John Wilkes Booth.
Joe's life is a mirror of the Henry David Thoreau quote, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." He is lonely, unable to communicate, connect with other humans (especially those of the opposite sex), and he is exceedingly bored. This all changes when his boss, Mr. Burk, assigns him the task of finding out who, or what, is traveling into the past and terrorizing his, Mr. Burk's, former self. They smacked him around as a newborn, stuck a broom up his ass as a young man, and both times clicked a Polaroid and then sent them to his present self. He doesn't remember the incidents, in accordance with the "Shaved Cat Principle," which essentially says that a time traveler cannot change the future, but all of their actions instead create a new timeline, or dimension of reality. So the tortures of Mr. Burk's past self do not affect his present self physically, or even as memory, but he finds it creepy, disconcerting and very wrong.
The concept of the novel is intriguing and fun. The idea of history tours into the past set my mind ablaze. The events you could witness! The Crusades, Orville Wright's 120 feet of flight, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and so many other events that have shaped our world. Unfortunately the ideas and plot of the novel take a distant second place to Genoa's attempts at wit and humor; there are several passages that are laugh-out-loud funny, but in the end it fails to satisfy. The last 50-pages of the novel were laborious and tiresome. I was counting down to the end and hoping for a quick exit.
Don't get me wrong. This novel is a worthwhile read, even though it runs just a little long. It is fast, humorous-the first page and a half contain two of the most amusing scenes I have ever read. The first is the comparison of Abraham Lincoln to an ape, which leads quite naturally into the life and times of the ape Koko, who was taught to communicate with sign language in the 1970s. The Koko scene is a microcosm for the rest of the novel: the disjointed connections that link humanity and all living animals together, yet somehow we are still unable to communicate. We are always alone, scared and hurting. If you enjoy satire you will probably like this book, but if you find satire frightening and unlikable, or even just mildly amusing, keep your hands off Foop!