“…life is an STD and I’ve already got it.”
– Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies by James Marshall
The story revolves around a 16-year old named Guy Boy Man, a self-proclaimed spiritual leader and pirate who attends Scare City High School. His mission in life is simple: to end human suffering – by destroying everyone. Wearing his trademark white plastic ceremonial robe and big pirate hat (which he stole from the Pope), Guy Boy Man has already murdered his parents (with a hatchet) and now he has his sights set on the school’s principal, a shadow figure that he believes a part of a conspiracy to turn people into zombies. But something derails the chain-smoking, whiskey-drinking, bulldozer-driving teenaged psycho’s plan – love.
Her name is Baby Doll15: “Aside from her big breasts, pale blue lips, child-bearing hips, baby-powder-white skin, cotton-candy-pink hair, and the unicorn that follows her everywhere, Baby Doll15 seems like just a regular fifteen-year-old girl.”
But finding – and holding on to – true love is not easy, especially for Guy Boy Man. He is a trillionaire – but in order for him to keep his mind-boggling fortune, he must never tell anyone that he loves them. And when Baby Doll15 shares her feelings with Guy Boy Man and he doesn’t reciprocate – orally to aurally – the hormonally supercharged, adolescent defecation hits the rotating oscillator.
Guy Boy Man’s best friend – an extremely handsome, and well endowed, ninja named Sweetie Honey – begins dating Baby Doll15 and, after Guy Boy Man seduce's the ninja's mom and records the play-by-play, unholy chaos soon ensues…
Oh yeah, and there are also demons who eat Hot Pockets and guzzle Red Bull, a quartet of seductive females who were genetically engineered and behaviorally modified by diabolical Eastern European scientists, and farms that grow crops of babies.
Readers can consume this novel in one of two ways: the first, which is not recommended, is to read it literally and with a closed mind. Marshall’s narrative voice is extremely irreverent and no one is off limits for his caustic wit: he targets blacks, the morbidly obese, the handicapped, Americans, gays, Christians, vegetarians, babies, classic art, even cannibals! The other way to read Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies is to see it as a ludicrous extended allegory – the zombies are obviously those who conform to social standards and/or those who buy into what religions are selling, and the “real” people, in order to survive in a world ruled by the mindless, must don masks and become stereotypes – pirates, ninjas, sex bombs, etc. These masks help to protect their true selves as does the scathing remarks and heartless behavior towards those not like them.
High school is essentially a microcosm of society and although Marshall has thrown in a bunch of zombies, pirates, ninjas, unicorns, etc., at the end of the day this is a novel about a kid trying to understand his place in the world.
• “…I became a spiritual leader, and all spiritual leaders are basically pirates, taking power and giving nothing in return…”
• “The greatest minds of my generation are playing MMORPGs.”
• “Cock fighting isn’t easy.”
• “I always thought Fairyland was a mythical place, like Nirvana, Shangri-La, or Funkytown.”
Bottom line: Readers who like their literary escapism on the psychotropic side should definitely seek out and read this stroboscopic debut. Bomb disposal suit not included – but highly recommended.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!
You must be a registered user to add a comment here. If you've already registered, please log in. If you haven't registered yet, please register and log in.