Carter Kaplan: Amazing Amazon Review of My Novella
A third review has appeared on my novella's Amazon site. Titled "Brilliant... and somewhat frightening," this one is by Carter Kaplan, who awards five stars and says, in his inimitable way:
Horace Jeffery Hodges' novella "The Bottomless Bottle of Beer" is many things: an entertaining fantasy and a romping good read, a post-postmodern meditation on contemporary culture, an excursion through the art of literary allusion (the use of Russian literature is particularly notable and ingenious), and a sophisticated (and seamless) philosophical examination of the complex interrelationships among legal philosophy, linguistics, theology, and the phenomenon of ethical choice. This latter is for me the most intriguing and the most frightening aspect of the story. Hodges very successfully argues that moral choice lies at the center of the problem of the human condition, and he drives home his point -- without metaphysics and without moralizing -- that our situation in the Cosmos is precarious indeed; and that recent progressive claims for the transformation of society and the human race through a postmodern revolution in consciousness are premature, naive, self-deluding, and very possibly self-destructive. But this is not to say that the story suffers from didacticism or a burden of turbid ethical arguments. The story is delightfully playful and entertaining. Hodges offers a richly-conceived world that is precisely (and superbly) rendered through plot, character and word-play. Fluent, canny and electric, Hodges is an expert story teller: here is a streaming fountain of amazing and poignant images that are haunted by astonishing and challenging ideas. Set in a world that is familiar but also slyly, vaguely and then suddenly fantastic, "The Bottomless Bottle of Beer" is suggestive of H.P. Lovecraft (who is subtlety alluded to in the story) in his arch and ironic mode. There is an odd darkness here, but rising up from beneath that darkness there is a humor that is as startling as it is amusing. Highly recommended.I'm beginning to see a pattern to these reviews -- their authors are a lot smarter than I am, for they see more in my story than I realized was there! They're also all friends of mine, which might predispose them toward favorable reviews, but I don't think they'd be quite so favorable if they didn't mean what they say.
But I know I'm sure sometime to get some reviewers who don't like the story . . .