Friday, May 15, 2009

Book Review: Prelude to a Super Airplane

So I did my book preview of Brian Spaeth's Prelude to a Super Airplane on February 4th. Today is May 15th. I am awesome.

Did it really take me that long to read this book? Hell no. But it may have taken me a month or so to actually get into it.

I'll be honest, I'm always wary when friends ask me to give opinions on their work. Why? Well, I'm opinionated and I don't like bullshitting. So if I don't like it... I'll tell ya (which I guess is good, but can be uncomfortable). And at first, I didn't care for the book and I put it off.

It was stupid, pretentious, riddled with spelling errors (though purposely) and had a cast of characters I couldn't follow at all (nor cared about). Like I said, it took me awhile to get into it. But eventually, something clicked and I just 'got it' and from there on, it was really fun.

There is a certain charm to the book. Spaeth parodies Hollywood films and archetypes very well (similar to South Park, if that comparison makes any sense). Sure, he makes himself the main character, uses (what I assume are real) Facebook chats for entire chapters, he breaks the fourth wall repeatedly, he's included inane quizzes and the book is filled with inside jokes and bizarre references (Calvin Stadiums!). Somehow it all works and I was actually pretty bummed out when it ended (to the point where I'm actually intrigued by this Brad Radby book).

The book probably isn't for everybody- however, the chapters are short (Da Vinci Code style) and each one features a chapter number so large that you don't need a bookmark (so it's got that going for it). However, to say you have to suspend disbelief is an understatement. Though despite my early apprehension, I'm really glad I finished it (kinda like how I was with Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell- though these books couldn't be more dissimilar). Was my first impression (this is really dumb) off the mark? Probably not. But Prelude to a Super Airplane is deceptively clever and well worth the minimal effort that I put in.

(and speaking of minimal effort, it only took me 10 days since I told Brian I'd have a review posted! huzzah!)


Brian said...

Thanks for posting this!

I am adamant with people that they push through the initial confusion and rip through it in three days. Long breaks do not help keep the narrative straight. (I know one person who read it in 4 hours - that's probably the optimal way to do it.)

Ben said...

ya, reading a bit here and there on break prolly isn't the way to go about it.

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