Spore by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow
Los Angeles is a strange, strange place. I can say this because I spend a lot of time there as a kid and some as an adult. (I even lived in California, in Rosamond, at one time, but that is tale for another time.) It is the home of movie magic, high tech companies, drugs, gangs, millions of everyday people, millions of tourist, money, and, if Skipp and Goodfellow are to be believed, a sentient fungus with delusions of grandeur.
Spore is the story of that megalomaniac fungus. It is a story of Los Angeles. And more specifically it is the story of Rory and Trixie and what happens to them when a sentient fungus with delusions of grandeur tries to take over Los Angeles via LA’s drug culture. It is a wild ride that takes place in 24 hours starting with Thanksgiving dinner and end with, well, I don’t want to give too much away.
The story begins with the Rory’s and Trixe’s annual Thanksgiving party (complete with lots of friend, a massive turkey dinner, and live music) at their automotive repair shop. Shortly after dinner, Rory receives a call from his older brother Richie who is in jail. Richie asks Rory to act as a limo driver for special client that evening (Richie owns a limo service company). Richie makes the offer such that Rory can’t refuse. And soon after that Rory is plunged into the wonderland of drugs and gangs and fungus that make up the Los Angeles underworld. Rory’s (and soon enough Trixie’s) trip through wonderland including car chases (some involving go-carts), paramilitary raids on rich gated communities with the mushroom sprouting super models, a gang controlled star chamber, and an army of fungus junkies squaring off against an army of LA gang bangers. And all that at the pace of a rollercoaster.
Spore is filled with both true to live and completely over the top characters including the city of Los Angeles herself. In fact, sometime it is hard to tell the different between the realistic and the strange. If paints a gritty, realist picture of Los Angeles and then covers it in mushrooms and lights it on fire while spinning it like Chinese Acrobat spins a plate. It is crazy. It is confusing. It is heart wrenching. It is exhilarating. But in the end it is a wild fun, if you let it sweep you along in it strange, manic currents. I loved it.
I give Spore 5 out of 5 snark bites. It is a well written, wild ride through the strange streets of Los Angeles I will not soon forget. Go pick up a copy and help spread the unity.
Note: This book contains a great deal violence and a lot of drugs and drug use. If you are offended by violence or drug use or mushrooms this may not be the book for you.