REVIEW: Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain

Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain - A. Lee Martinez



Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain is a charming and humorous read. The story centers around Emperor Mollusk, a native of Neptune, who's a supervillain (but not really the overly evil type), mad genius, and the former Warlord of Earth. Now that he's already accomplished world domination, though, he's finding himself somewhat bored and unchallenged in his life. Fortunately (or, unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), an up-and-coming megalomaniac doesn't plan to let Mollusk have an easy, boring retirement.

In its essence, Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain is smart, clever, and ridiculous, which of course makes for a great combination.

"So you admit it then. Deep down, in your heart-"

"Neptunons don't have hearts. We circulate our blood via a system not unlike osmosis. Even if we had hearts, we'd avoid assigning them any functions outside of a strict biological design. So you are probably trying to appeal to my basal ganglia."

This book is a fun ride, I'll give it that. I particularly loved that nothing seemed "too ludicrous" to be out of reach in this book, and it was never afraid to stretch the limits of ridiculousness.

The main issue here, though, is that it's kind of one-note. That doesn't matter as much when you're enjoying the particular note, as I was, but the result is that the book isn't as memorable as it should have been. Even though it's funny, all of the humor is derived from Mollusk's sarcastic, clever, and/or condescending thoughts and remarks. For most of the story, his unwilling Venusian bodyguard Zala plays "the straight man" character, and even though the dynamic between Mollusk and Zala is humorous, it eventually starts to feel a bit formulaic. This book doesn't have the comedic depth, say, of something like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Even the plot seems a bit formulaic, with Mollusk consistently getting himself into and out of perilous jams.

Regardless, deep down in my basal ganglia, I think that this is a fun read that I'd recommend to anyone looking for something light and humorous in the sci-fi genre.