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The Lamp Post Motel, by Joe Gold
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Dailey Swan Publishing Inc.
Published: 2008
Review Posted: 2/3/2010
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

The Lamp Post Motel, by Joe Gold

Book Review by Trudy Myers

Have you read this book?

I picked up this book from the Dailey Swan Publishing table at LAConIV in 2006. I flew back from WorldCon with a head cold, and, desperate to distract myself from my misery, I grabbed this book to read during the trip. The Lamp Post Motel proved to be a good distraction. I reached the end just as our plane touched down, and it is extremely seldom I remain engaged long enough to read a book in a single day anymore.

Two students from the future take an illegal trip back in time to gather research for a paper. Apparently they already have PhDs (most people in their time do), and they are working for some higher degree. They have chosen this time because by then, a cure for AIDS has been found, and one of them is working for an advanced degree in Sexual Anthropology, so he wants to study the developing sexual mores of our time.

Meanwhile, Elmo is taking care of his business, which is the Lamp Post Motel. His only sexual outlet for years has been as voyeur via hidden cameras in the various rooms of his motel. One of his long-term residents is the typical big-hearted prostitute (what motel would be complete without her?), who brings home a left-for-dead rape victim.

Some of the characters seemed extreme, some were thin. Maybe my age is showing, but there seemed to be an overwhelming preoccupation with sex. Since that was the subject being researched by the future guy, I guess that should be expected.

The future guys seduce Elmo into the next step of voyeurism, that of actually sharing the mind of the patrons having sex. I never understood why they did that.

Despite having been a psychology student, the prostitute isn't making much progress in helping the rape victim pull herself together. When that victim slips into catatonic depression, the only person who might possibly be able to help her is Elmo, who finds some truly horrific memories in her mind.

Now, I tend to be a 'happy ever after' kind of person, so I found the ending unsatisfying. I suppose others would consider the ending good. After all, two people found love in the arms of a woman, right? The prostitute inherits the motel, and that's good, right? But the student from the future who came to do research loses everything, sold out by a mole he never suspected, and that seemed unfair. Still, who said life was fair?

I consider it a good read. There were moments of mild humor to entertain and lighten the mood, which could have become overwhelmingly dark, given the subject matter. I wish Joe Gold lots of luck with his writing career, and look forward to seeing his next endeavor.

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