Tuesday, 12 August 2014

What’s there to say about Starmaggedon?  It’s downhill from the title.  The same old stuff, done like even the author has lost interest. As Stan points out, the characters themselves say they feel like they’re in one of those old James Bond films. 

It would be third-rate one, like A View to a Kill.

Or The World is Not Enough or Quantum of Solace.  Notice how no one talks about the sour, lazy lousiness of Quantum of Solace?

Maybe it would have been more fun if we’d read Starmageddon first, by accident.  As it is, things that used to make me laugh out loud in Rohmer now just make me check off the box on my Rohmer list.

The vanishing subplots.  (The crewman the captain murders on page 8.  Was he a spy? Who sent him?)  The entire business with the spy ship.  Did it make any difference whether they saw the crash or not?  Did it make any difference whether the Vice President was on board the plane or not?  What about the trade war over automobile imports?  What about the Russian ambassador?  We hear a lot about the Russian ambassador that adds up to nothing.

The endless Oval Office meetings where people show each other charts and graphs.  Apparently, no one in the administration of Space Reagan knows anything.

The boring, thinly-disguised characters who were boring to begin with in real life.  Why bother making up Space Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Rocket George Shultz?  Especially if you’re not going to dish on them?  That’s why you have President John F. Gilhooley.  So he can do it with sexy but unstable movie star Carilyn Conroe, and mobbed-up lounge singer Frank Amore can tell her to cool it, baby.  Rohmer’s Jeanne Kirkpatrick is homely and likes talking to handsome men and… that’s all.  Shultz is less than that.  Is the hysterical, self-serving Democratic politician who ruins everything supposed to be Patricia Schroeder?  What did she ever do to Richard Rohmer?

The repurposed passages from an earlier book.

Drunk Russians.

The quarter-page perfunctory sex scene.  Wow, does that guy hate writing about sex.

The ultimatum.

The rushed ending, and the late arriving, tacked-on Big Decision, in this case “Will Germany Defend Itself?”  Answer… yeah, sure, why not?

Wait, I did laugh out loud once:

“I’m talking to you in the clear, Bart.  Whatever I say to you might be overheard, so I have to be cautious.  First, you should know you’re right in the center of the Soviets’ favorite testing range for their PL-5 intercontinental ballistic missiles and for the Strategic Defense System weaponry they’ve been developing.  They do this testing from a place just to the west of where you are, on the Chukotskiy Peninsula.  Since the mid-1980s they’ve installed at their main base there 115 multiwarheaded ICBMs, both the SS-16 and the PL-5.”

Let’s see… what else don’t we want the Russians to know we know?  I guess that’s it.  On a personal note, my ATM PIN number is 12345, I leave my house key under a rock by the front door, and J. Edgar Hoover will be blowing me in the dressing room at Frederick’s of Hollywood tonight from 8 to closing.  I wish I could tell you more, Bart.  But you never know who could be listening.


  1. Yet another ultimatum, but for once it's not issued by the United States. Well, not the first one anyway.

    The subplot I was most disappointed to see vanish is the one that never got beyond the set-up. I write, of course, about the vice-president's cheating, alcoholic husband. Oh, if only Air Force One hadn't been booked, if only the chief of staff wasn't using that 707, if only there was one passenger could be bumped from flight 315. Instead, hubby stays at home, and the administration risks scandal, leading to this exchange between national security advisor Bob MacGregor and President Blank, Jr:

    "So if he gets into trouble while she's away, he gets into trouble."

    "Nothing we can do about that, Bob, except cross our fingers for her sake."

    "And yours, sir."

    "You're right. Let's get to the briefing."

    Always a meeting to attend. As for the VP's ne'er–do–well husband - well, whatta ya gonna do.

    My idea was to have the secret service trail him - but what do I know about national security.

  2. If only the president had the Black Brigade.