Boris Bouquerel, |
Say Hello to Jupiter
Say Hello to Jupiter: The Memoirs of BB Boris is a fictional account of Boris Bouquerel's one-man musical show of a displaced time traveler. In the far-flung future, most of Earth is polluted and uninhabitable, sending humanity to the stars to realize a near-perfect Utopian society. The vocal talents of the Spacing Guild allow interstellar travel and prevent the condition of "Spaceout." Lyrd Mormahl, leader of the Spacing Guild, has plans to gain power and upset the social balance. To prevent this coup, the Empress Ro'wheena and the Rebel Microchip send Grand Voicemaster BB Boris to the past to change Mormahl's ancestor's sensibilities. But something goes awry....
If Say Hello to Jupiter were marketed as a campy sci-fi novel, then this would be a resounding success. Obviously the author has read the staples of science fiction. There are elements of Frank Herbert's Dune, William Gibson's Neuromancer and H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. Unfortunately, the book reads as if it were a serious attempt at science fiction. It's like being around someone supposedly telling a funny joke, except that person is actually being serious.
There are some good bits in this novel. Bouquerel has an obvious passion for saving the environment. Each soapbox speech in the novel is captivating and thought-provoking. He also has nice little satirical references, such as the corrupt 21st-century corporation EmmEssCom -- a homophonic ribbing at MicroSoft Company -- or the duality of the Environmental Protection Agency.
While Bouquerel has an enjoyable voice in his writing and an attention to detail, the remaining elements of Say Hello to Jupiter range from mediocre to weak. The basic premise of someone going to the past to change an ancestor's viewpoint of the environment -- thereby changing one person's attitude 2,000 years later -- is ludicrous. Talk about going around the block to go next door....
The idea of the human voice as a weapon -- powerVoice -- is a good one, but the execution of the vocal battles are so silly that it's embarrassing. Upon reading "**WWRRRRUUYYEEEEEEEZZHK!!!**," I can't help but think Bouquerel is trying too hard.
The worst aspect of this book is that most of the characters suffer from an expository disease. If this were a comic book, it would be loaded with thought balloons. Instead of letting the action unfold, all characters must explain their previous and next steps as if the reader just picked up the book. Call me sarcastic, but I don't think someone incapable of following the plot would pick up a 450-page book in the first place.
When I finished reading Say Hello to Jupiter, it struck me that Bouquerel has written a supposedly criticism-free book. Any critical points I make about the premise, plot, characters or method of storytelling will automatically lump me into the same category as the jaded and cynical people of the 21st century in the book. Oh well, sometimes a proper review requires some sacrifice.