In the fraction of a second that followed, and as the aircar suddenly changed its orientation on several axes, turning the untethered Blaine Turnin into a surprised and fleshy pinball careening around the surfaces of the aircar’s passenger cabin, Ghreni Nohamapetan, acting Duke of End, formulated several simultaneous thoughts that did not so much proceed through his brain as appear, fully formed and overlapping, as if Ghreni’s higher cognitive functions decided to release all the ballast at once and let Ghreni sort it out later, if there was a later, which, given that Blaine Turnin’s neck had just turned a disturbing shade of floppy, seemed increasingly unlikely. Perhaps it might be easier to describe these thoughts in percentage form, in terms of their presence in Ghreni’s theater of attention.
To begin, there was Shit fuck fuck shit fuck shit fuck the fucking fuck shit fucking shit fuck hell, which was taking up roughly 89 percent of Ghreni’s attention, and, as his aircar was beginning to both spin and lose altitude, understandably so.
Anyone else get the strong sense of Douglas Adams off that? This is from the opening chapter of John Scalzi’s THE LAST EMPEROX, final part of his Interdependency space-opera trilogy. Unusually for the last part of a thing, it’s looser and more scabrously amusing, more whimsical, than its first two acts.
Sneaky fucker that he is.
“Here it is: I want your support. I want your house’s support.”
“I’m not my house. You’ll have to talk to my mother about that.”
“I did. One of my representatives did, anyway.”
“Yeah? How did that go?”
“She said that we could all fuck ourselves with a rented dick. The same rented dick.”
“That’s my mom,” Kiva said.
For much of its length, it’s more operetta than opera, almost as if he’d lost his nerve and defanged the book. But that’s a trick, and I was delighted by the way he sets out the rug and then yanks it out at the top of the last act.
I read it in three nights — Scalzi is always a high-velocity read — and was greatly entertained. And we could all use some of that right now, yes? Nice job.