Pallafor, Yodis. The Great Unmaking: How Mississippi Will Fare in the Doomtimes. Jackson: Universal Press of Alternate Mississippi, 1206 ACE.

Mr. Pallafor has a firm vision of what he calls the Doomtimes, the end of all life in Mississippi (and Mississippi alone); he sets these ideas forth in this screed, due out from UPAM soon and available for preorder.

The overall thesis of Pallafor’s Doomtimes is that an 11.0 earthquake will occur along the New Madrid fault, causing the Mississippi River to change direction once again and sucking up vast quantities of seawater to inundate the Delta and most low-lying areas of the state with brackish water. This will, he writes, then lead a race of crawdads, mutated and given intelligence by the BP oil spill of 2010, to enter the state and dominate the surviving humans.

As support for his claims, Mr. Pallafor offers up verbatim transcripts of conversations he had with the archangel Metamucil after suffering a series of blows to the head as part of the confirmation process for his former position on the Mississippi IHL. These, serving as a lengthy appendix, are exhaustively indexed and cross-referenced.

While this title is probably not suitable for school, public, university, or special libraries, it certainly belongs in any Mississippi Doombrary worth its salt, and indeed the first inscribed copy was donated to the Delta Doombrary after publication.

Isola Playford
Mississippi Delta Doombrary

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Poydras, Fiallo. A Guide to Mississippi Fanfiction. R’lyeh: Great Auk, 2016.

As readers of Fifty Shades of Grey can attest, fanfiction—works written by fans based on existing universes but not authorized or condoned by rightsholders—has never been hotter. However, the existing treatment of fanfiction tends to dwell on the phenomenon at a macro level for very popular milieus. Twilight, Harry Potter, Star Trek…all of these have been well-covered by other authors at length.

However, Mr. Poydras—an amateur working out of Biloxi—has undertaken to write the first guide to fanfiction written by Mississippians about Mississippians. His encyclopedic volume, complete through August of 2010, features extensive treatment of the Faulkner fanfics that are so popular in Mississippi circles. Special attention is paid to the Yoknapatawpha Wars cycle, an epic tale in 27 volumes that brings characters and situations from As I Lay Dying and Sanctuary into a 31st-century setting dominated by space zombies.

Poydras also treats Eudora Welty fanfiction—so-called Weltfic—at some length, though it is clear that his interests lie more with Faulkfic and the intense subculture of Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote slashfics, which re-imagines the characters and situations of those writers in intense and often lurid heterosexual relationships.

That weakness aside, this volume is recommended for all libraries, especially those with large numbers of circulating vampire movies.

Floro Alpis
Yoknapatawpha County Public Library

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This post is part of the October 2012 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “NaMoReMo (National Mock Review Month)”.

The Accountant and the Assassin
Altos Wexan
421 pages, hardcover
First Edition (August 21, 20XX)
ISBN-10: 223405857-X
ISBN-13: 942-449758221-X
Retrograde Triton Press (domestic printing)
Kyoto Processed Ricepaper Concerns Press (international printings)

There’s definitely no false advertising in this yarn, out earlier this year from Retrograde Triton. Wexan’s book dutifully serves up the collision between a staid accountant and a high-stakes assassin in an Manhattan-in-all-but-name metropolis. One might feel from such a title that the broad outlines of such a tale are obvious, but Wexan is able to lob a few inventive curveballs.

His accountant, for example, is a sunshiny eternal optimist to the point that his oily, more accountant-like cohorts call him “Pollyanna” to his face and heap their worst clients (like a young Paris Hilton soundalike) on his desk. The collision between this bumbling, upbeat character and the dour world of professional contract killing provides the majority of the book’s humor (which is frequent enough, especially near the beginning, that the book could almost be called a comedy).

The comedic pratfalls, including a daft inversion of the usual action movie car chase, are where the book is at its best. Attempts to wring tension out of the basic setup, as in an apartment standoff involving multiple identities and double-crosses, fall flat and are enough of a tonal mismatch that the book at times seems schizophrenic. The titular assassin, a few mild twists aside, is a stock character and despite some teases she and the accountant never seem to click. The villain, a psychotic assassin “competitor,” is written with gusto but seems to lack any real motivation.

Wexan has succeeded in writing a yarn that satisfies some of the old action cliches and inverts or plays with others. But his inability to reconcile the disparate characters and tones keeps the book from being anything more than a well-executed, enjoyable beach read. Recommended, but with reservations.

-Phil “Stonewall” Pixa, The Hopewell Review.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Ralph Pines
dolores haze

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