In Part 1, I said I’d take a look at some of my favourite works of utter bunkum. You’ll need to read Part 1 ( utter-bunkum-part-1 ) to know what I mean by ‘utter bunkum’, but it’s worth repeating: this is not in any way meant to be serious. I am not intending to be disrespectful or disparaging about any of the works mentioned—as I said, these are some of my favourite works of speculative fiction. I love these books; I wish I’d written them.
It might be a little more fun to present the books in the form of a lighthearted quiz. What follows are the plots of twenty novels stripped back to their bare bones—to the utter-bunkum level. See how many you can get without peeking at the answers which follow. (The links—some of which partially obscure the answer numbers, which I can’t do much about—lead to Amazon UK in case anyone wants to check out any of the books mentioned.)
Warning: by their very nature, some of these may be spoilers if you haven’t read the books, so proceed with caution.
- Shapeshifting alien terrorizes small American town every twenty-seven years.
- Six-foot-plus man who thinks he’s a dwarf joins city police force and helps thwart a dragon.
- Children play computer games in preparation for alien invasion.
- Man from Mars preaches free love.
- Boy speaks pidgen English and worships a Punch puppet in post-apocalyptic Kent.
- Made-up creature and faithful companion infiltrate the heart of deadly enemy territory to destroy magical artefact.
- Old aristocrat takes voyage to Yorkshire for the hot young women.
- Man tries to open path to hidden worlds, convinced he’s finishing the work begun by Jesus.
- Man and boy wander along and hide a lot.
- A strange cloud turns people into murdering psychopaths.
- Intrepid young woman tries to prevent the plot of a much-loved classic being ruined.
- Everyone, kill Zack!
- Bury them and they come back, but you’ll wish they hadn’t.
- Boy meets girl in midnight trysts; boy watches girl die of old age.
- Lots of intrigue and spicy worms.
- Man in dressing gown sets off on amazing adventures after his home is demolished.
- Evacuees from war-torn London free land of icy dictator; native fauna say, “thank you.”
- Sculptor shockingly brings life to his work.
- Love story that jumps about because he can’t stay still.
- 101 reasons to be paranoid.
The Eyre Affair
World War Z
Right, next week I’m off to chill out in the sunshine, drink lots of beer and grow plumper on a Greek island, so the post due on 6th September isn’t going to happen. See you instead on the 20th. Yia mas!