Monday, June 22, 2009

Book of the Summer

I know it's early, but I think that Monkey See by Walt Maguire, is going to be the book of the summer for me. Taking jabs at political and social issues, while never letting the laughs stop, this science-fiction novel has everything I, or any other reader, could want. Genetic experiments on primates who will one day rise up and crush humanity: check. Heart-tugging moments of baby monkey cuteness: check. A twisted and intricate plot that jumps around repeatedly while still making sense: check. And as a bonus, a do-it-yourself guide to making your own monster. 

Monkey See starts by introducing us to Ed the Talking Monkey. A science experiment gone awry—the scientist, Dr. Cogitomni, was actually trying to create a cure for asthma—Ed the Talking Monkey finds himself in an unique situation. Unable to communicate with unenhanced primates, he is stuck trying to figure out where in this new world he actually belongs. Is it with the humans who don't understand or really like him or with other enhanced primates who alternately try to befriend and look down upon Ed the Talking Monkey for his friendships with humans?

Constantly feeling like the odd man out, Ed the Talking Monkey’s life changes when he meets Gigi, Dr. Cogitomni’s latest experiment. A young spider monkey, Gigi winds up in Dr. Cogitomni’s lab where she undergoes weeks of experimentation. The two hit it off, once Gigi has undergone enough genetic manipulation to actually understand and speak English. She’s a fifteen foot spiked monster and Ed the Talking Monkey works as a janitor in Dr. Cogitomni’s lab, but none of those matters to these two. Alas, their love is destined to die because Gigi is not only Dr. Cogitomni's newest experiment, but she's also his secret weapon in his evil plan to rule the world.

Spliced throughout the whole twisted story of Ed the Talking Monkey's journey and Gigi's metamorphosis are two other intricate plots. The first is a step-by-step guide to creating your own monster—so you, too, can rule the world—which includes a detailed plan on what to do afterward, and clever, witty lines to spout off when confronted by other scientists, your monster, and the cops.

The second plot deals with the upcoming monkey uprising. Genetically enhanced by Dr. Cogitomni and his fellow scientist, these primates have decided that they’re tired of being treated like second-class citizens. They’ve plotted out how to best take over and enslave humanity and are planning on staging a coup. Several members of this plot are trying to convince Ed the Talking Monkey that he should join their side, and it isn’t easy for Ed the Talking Monkey to turn them down. And there is a small sub-plot in this plot, showing what life for humans will be like under the new monkey overlords.

Monkey See is a very well-written novel and I highly recommend that you read it now, before the monkeys can get you.

PS: Let me know if you too catch the Cylon reference.


The Lady V said...

I am so putting this on my list of US things!! I'm meeting my old DC roommate in Johannesburg next month so I'm compiling my list of wants/needs :)

Hayden said...

Awesome! I hope you like it!

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