People are behind pop stars and their latest hits, perfecting their sound with technological wizardry. That’s the premise of Loki’s Child. Sinister yet comical, the book is witty and brazen to the point of bawdy; snark is offered in a touching, flowing dance that reminded me of a slow-motion, slapstick trainwreck captured in all its glory with the experience drawn out and put to a musical score. I was sold completely on the laugh-a-minute hyperbole and casual comedic bombshells by the end of the third page and the characters build up organically as you read and discover. Differing narrators with varied tones and the same style appear, and they work as a fist-in-glove team on the reader’s kidneys, pounding away to achieve the desired entertainment’s maximum effect. The different voices blend as deliciously as apple and pie, and just as whimsically as the previous simile. As the plot takes off, the characters’ endearing realism in the depths of an absurd world where nearly everything is stretched to hilarious proportionality, I found myself gripped by their struggle though I had no idea what was coming in the next chapter: Pagan gods and social activism, screes against or for the Illuminati, cultural revolutions and geopolitical nonsensities, lawyerly scams and a Roman-style coliseum in Washington DC, musical analyses with characters mourning the old days when music was pure; it is unfocused, vast, and brutally funny. The style reminds me of the little snippets of Pratchett’s Discworld books I have read, using absurdity to speak on issues in a lighthearted fashion. It is quite a ride, and I would recommend it heavily as a lighthearted read for those who take themselves too seriously no matter what particular issue is being taken too seriously.
The writer, the colorfully-named Fenris Wulf, artfully mixes rational terms and invented gibberish that will have musicians alternately gagging and chuckling while the layman will have no problems understanding what is going on and why it is all ludicrous and absurd anyway, but the unfolding of the world and the characters themselves are poignant and real in their personality, with vestiges of hopes, frustrations and awarenesses that lend them all the air of soldiers in a gritty war film: All-too-real, which lends the pages an all-too-turnable quality which is dangerous. The chapters are short, making it a good read as a quick mood-adjuster or pick-me-up rather than a consumptive experience. Each carries its tone as the characters’ journal entries or notes very well, and makes bold use of a reader’s suspension of disbelief so overtly that it’s like a donut that claims to be healthy: Just like Agent Mulder, you want to believe. Everyone in the novel is so full of life and bombastic that I found myself unexpectedly curious at how they might interact together even before they were fully introduced.
Equal parts chilling and heartwarming in anticipable arrhythmia, the story evolves and prances along with a jocular tone that you might expect out of a grandfatherly figure around the dinner table with a punchline worthy of the greatest oldster yarns waiting to pounce in nearly every chapter. A sample paragraph:
The secret of the Gromko’s sound is a mysterious circuit sealed in black epoxy. It contains a dereciprocator, a hypothetical component first proposed in 1948, which uses the Graffenmuller effect to inversely transduce the electrical majestance. To build this hypothetical component, you need a hypothetical transuranic element that doesn’t exist on Earth. Luckily, the Soviets retrieved a quantity of a mysterious glowing green metal from an asteroid crater in Siberia, and they were in business. It also took care of that imperialist lackey in the blue tights who kept stealing their nuclear missiles and throwing them into the Sun.
The book is juvenile, or overpolished perhaps, to achieve its desired tone as shock parody aiming at lowbrow with some truly groanworthy moments splashed about here and there hitting all sides, with a general theme of ‘screw the recording industry and pop music in particular’ as the author’s note that was spliced into the work instead of placed at the beginning. Part 1 is by far the best, with the plot adopting a dramatically different tone after the characters were established and the stage was set. Still, I find the worst part of the work its choice of cover art, when a minimal investment in an artist’s time is well-worth the investment.
While there is a great deal of commentary, I cannot categorize this as a political novel at its heart in good conscience. It starts with music and a focus on beauty and I do not think that is ever lost. Yes, a group of Ayn Randian, Constitutionalist musicians and pagan deities foment a rebellion against the US-Globalist conspiracy government, but threaded throughout the story is a call to beauty and the simplicity of recognizing what is beautiful—chiefly through musical terms but not exclusively—particularly poignant is a section near the end where several of the characters are out in nature enjoying the peaceful day. There are certainly moments where politics is mocked, but while the author might vilify “the left”, they dismiss “the right” as useless and disregard them as an actual force entirely several times which is hardly supportive. The book is ultimately about exactly what’s on the cover: A girl front and center with a guitar, and worshiping the god of chaos in the name of beautiful music.