Sunday, 12 August 2012

Señor 105: The Gulf

Cody Quijano-Schell The Gulf (2012)
Just to get it out of the way, I dislike eBooks for a number of reasons. Even aside from the issue of unknowingly turning oneself into a market research tool; and never mind the technical annoyance of there being eBooks I can't read on my Kindle due to some difference between EPUB, MOBI, and AZW file types - whatever the hell any of that means,
and when was the last time you found yourself unable to read a paperback due to incompatible hands?; and aside from real books being nice things in and of themselves, it's the fact that anyone can now upload their rambling shite to Amazon and fool virtual suckers into buying it. It's really an issue of cultural bandwidth for me (see also generic steampunk), more choice so very rarely amounting to greater choice.

Anyway, whining aside, The Gulf is the first of a series of virtual novellas starring Cody Quijano-Schell's Señor 105 as interpreted by a variety of authors,
one being your less than humble narrator so please remain aware of my possibly compromised objectivity during the remainder of this review. Señor 105 is a masked wrestler, Mexican superhero and solver of mystic crimes rooted firmly in the pulp tradition of the 1950s and 1960s, a character trading upon innumerable familiar b-movie or comic book tropes and yet sparkling with such wit and originality as to seem entirely new. The key to the character's success, at least as written by his creator, is Quijano-Schell's genuine affection for his material and inspiration, the refreshing honesty of its delivery: none of those knowing winks to the reader, wearily ironic asides, smarmy deconstructive gags about running down corridors; and talking of which, there's even some Doctor Who continuity with serial numbers filed off for those who care about such things, the story of the planet Mondas retold as Mexican folklore which, embarrassingly enough, is at least four times as exciting as anything that's happened within that particular media franchise since back in the old days when everything was better.

There's a couple of typos, and I'm not sure what happened to the paragraphs, and possibly a few surplus adjectives, but really I'm nit-picking given that The Gulf is otherwise such a thoroughly pleasant read. It's pretty rare to find something borrowing so heavily from Mexican culture which doesn't manage to piss me off in some way, but Cody Quijano-Schell writes Mexico with the enthusiasm and affection of a native, and the most outrageous surrealism with a lightness of touch that carries genuine charm
as distinct from the wearying self-conscious eccentricity of the spent force from which Señor 105 is distantly extruded. Buy this so that Cody writes more and more stuff and is forced to get it printed as real books.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. There's a lot going on in "The Gulf" that lurks underneath its Mexican exterior. I *hope* further 105 titles will explore some of these ideas (and more) in greater depth.