Did you know there was a book out there that drove everyone who ever read it criminally insane?
It was a collaborative project by the inmates of the Costa Chinchilla insane asylum in 1953. That was the secret place where we kept all of the Nazi war criminal Thule cult members that were too evil to leave at large yet were too useful to execute. They wrote it on single sheets of toilet paper and you don’t want to know what they used for ink.
The wreaking manuscript was smuggled by very unlikely means, to the offices of Golden Dawn books in 1871. GD Books was an obscure publisher specializing in the occult, based in Chicago. The manuscript sat unnoticed and in that particular slush pile, unremarkable until the office boy, one H. H. Holmes boredly thumbed through it one afternoon. Finding it particularly inspiring, he brought it to the attention of the publisher by his (*shudder*) usual means. The publisher, whose name is lost to time, immediately ran up a huge printing of it.
The Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem found out about it almost too late and had to burn down most of Chicago in an effort to destroy all traces of it. The only surviving copy was smuggled out of the smoking ruins by the aforementioned office boy.
The name of that book was Loki’s Child by Fenrus Wulf.
Every word of that is true.
Except that none of it is.
I had thought that great satire was dead.
Or perhaps not dead so much as simply impossible to write these days. I mean every time the satirist comes up with something brilliant. The real world blasts so far past him that he is left just standing in the dust and impossibly behind the times.
Travel to the world of twenty years ago and present them with an accurate picture of the world we live in today and you would be laughed at as a hysterically insane reactionary.
An amateur porn star with her own line of cosmetics in Walmart? Disney blackmailing the entire state of Georgia because they DIDN’T want to let men into women’s bathrooms. Bruce Jenner having a show about his life as a woman named Caitlyn? The odds are good you would have been locked up as a danger to yourself and others as soon as they found out you were serious. Bruce would have been more appalled then anyone. “I mean why Caitlyn? Why the fuck would I pick Caitlyn?”
Yet as you all know, that is indeed the world we live in.
So how is it even possible to write a satire about it?
The answer to that question is; as brutally as possible and make it as black as the future that is closing in front of us like the clenched fist of God Almighty Himself.
Imagine my my shock when I discovered that satire is in fact brilliantly alive in this book. As caustic as a gallon of lemon juice poured onto a scraped eyeball and as raw as a man who has been dragged naked over ten miles of carpet tacks. This book isn’t just biting, it digs in its teeth and chews.
Before I begin my review I need to point out something important. Music is indeed and truly universal to Man as a species.. Music is something embedded in humanity itself. I found that out my first week in Marine Corps Boot Camp. Try going a week completely without it and you will be pining for the sound of someone whistling Camp Town Races. Except we weren’t allowed to whistle. The only music we had was the cadence calling of our Drill Instructors and the recorded bugling for Revely in morning (most hated) and Taps in the evening (most loved because it was time to sleep. Then on that first Sunday we were allowed to attend services and heard music for the first time in a week, it was Amazing Grace and I barely kept from crying. I was like a man who didn’t know he’d been dying of thirst offered a long cold drink of water. It’s easy to not notice the need for music today because it pretty much is everywhere we go.
Also it’s all bad.
Loki’s Child begins as an in depth wade through the outdoor sewer known as the music industry, by someone who clearly and obviously knows what he is talking about. The deep and abiding love of music, the debasement of talent and the relentless subjugation of art to a system that only pretends it’s doing it for money but in truth loves above all things relentless control of the free. These are the penetrating and overriding themes of this book.
The narrative takes the form of a diary where the point of view character shifts repeatedly. First it’s Blenderman, a completely cynical album producer. He’s the best in the business, he knows it and burying himself in his work, is the only way he keeps himself from jumping out of a window. Yes he is a whore but there are some things even a whore just won’t do. Blenderman knows solid talent when he hears it and he feels deeply sorry for it because he knows damn good and well what the music industry will do it. The reason he knows it, is that he will be the one who has been ordered to do it.
Blenderman want’s to not care about music anymore.
Then the story shifts to Scotty, A genius of a sound engineer in an industry that is fundamentally incapable of appreciating genius. (I mean even if you could appreciate it, It just isn’t done. What would your friends think if you did a thing like that.) Scotty is dedicated to his craft even though he knows his craft is used to produce garbage for babies. He is the slave of a digital master called SonoViz which can do miraculous things to amazing music that will make all of it sound exactly the same.
Scotty loves music and wants to not love music anymore.
Then to Jasmine, the Alphabitch of the utterly (or at least apparently) talentless all girl, “goth-rock-angst-hop” band Fatal Lipstick. A rebel with a very surprising cause and a brilliant artist determined to produce the worst album in history. And given the history of this particular world that is very tall order.
Jasmine wants to destroy the world.
She is the daughter of the god without worshipers who is so dangerous “he is kept chained in a cave in the heart of the world.”
Loki’s child is an absolutely brilliant and indeed inspiring satire. It is a Gulver’s Travels for the 21st century. Although it’s one that would leave Jonathon Swift sayin, “Oh! Come on!” Its a tour through a world that is determined to destroy in itself. You’ll visit countries that are both imaginary and real and by that I mean they are both at the same time. It’s a slicing commentary on the cult of utter insanity of that is our contemporary life.
I can’t go on much more without spoilers. And yet, I’m not certain that telling you the entire plot would spoil the story in the least.
This is a big book, there is so much to cover and I can only skim. In this world there is a Russian torture device, found in a lake that is a desperately sought after musical accompaniment. A Japanese music scene that is almost as weird as the real one with a Yakuza leadership that is vulnerable to lawsuits. There is a much less embarrassing fake religion than Scientology, called Psychohistory which is not only much more plausible than Xenu but would be vastly less embarrassing to be a part of. There is war, there is rebellion and there is counter-counter rebellion and there is enough time to be stolen for a little love.
In conclusion this is a strong work by a very experienced and well tuned author. The author knows the score and his characters are appropriately layered. No Pixie Ninjas and no girls being moved by the power of True Love to dump the the unworthy Alpha for the honest Beta. As unreal as the world that this book takes place in, the characters are all richly real.
This book isn’t a merely a roller coaster, It’s an amazing, nuclear powered rocket coaster and you aren’t sure if the designer bothered to finish the tracks. If Catch 22, Atlas Shrugged, The Watchmen and Brazil (1985) decided to throw an orgy, (with Animal Farm peeking through the window, the creep) this is the bastard child that party would have produced.
Loki’s Child is a book that is as dark as the world that created it. And yet for all of it’s oppressive themes it is never bleak. Of course you’re riding the 57’ Cadillac off the face of the cliff, why let that get you down? We all have to die someday and it is gonna be a hell of a ride…while it lasts.
Cataline Recommends with Enthusiasm.