Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Sci-Fi, 1950's Style: A Review of Die Laughing

My book review of Die Laughing by Louis K. Lowy:

What do you get when you cross a 1950’s sci-fi satire with a gangster flick and throw in some emotional subplots for good measure? One heck of a good book, that’s what. Die Laughing by Louis K. Lowy is an impressive and terrific novel.

Sam E. Lakeside is a 1950’s Las Vegas comic on his way up the show biz ladder, until he finds himself on the wrong side of some gangsters and gets kidnapped by aliens. And the trouble keeps coming, as Sam lands right in the middle of a plot to steal the world’s oil that involves his guest spot on the Steve Allen show. Now it’s up to him, and his two friends Lee and Cricket, to stop the aliens.

On the surface, Die Laughing is both a satire and homage to the culture of the 1950’s, rifting through such icons as comedians, gangsters, science fiction movies, comic books and television. The author knows the era and recreates 1950’s America -from Las Vegas to New York- perfectly. There are subtle touches masterfully done and as a sci-fi geek, I loved the references to the old movies and comic books. It even has a good dose of jokes, sprinkled in 1950’s cheese.

But Die Laughing also has a subtle and well crafted emotional depth that lifts it above light entertainment and gives the reader strong, flawed characters. There is also a multi-layered plot undercurrent that moves the pace and tension of the book to keep the reader hooked. This novel steers you in familiar directions, but still manages to keep you guessing until the finish with ambiguous possibilities and outcomes. Even the end itself was left a little up in the air, while still concluding the storyline. Die Laughing is complex, fun and highly enjoyable.

6 comments:

Rogue Mutt said...

That sounds funny. Reminds me of the movie "Alien Trespass" which attempted to parody stupid '50s sci-fi movies, although I thought to be more accurate they needed worse effects and to make the film grainier. That's probably the good thing with a book because you don't have to replicate the look, just the feel.

A. F. Stewart said...

There's a lot going on in the book.

Louis K. Lowy said...

Hi A.F., thanks for the very kind words regarding Die Laughing!

A. F. Stewart said...

You are welcome, Louis. It was a great book.

Coral Russell said...

Thanks for participating in the Full Moon Madness event!

A. F. Stewart said...

You're welcome, Coral. It's a great event.

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