Book Review: Christopher Moore’s (Alas!) Bad Book

Image result for the griff

The Griff

by Christopher Moore and Ian Corson


I hate this. I hate it!

I love Christopher Moore. He is one of my all-time favorite authors, one of my heroes. I’ve read everything he’s written, and I’ve loved everything he’s written.

Except this.

This is a crappy book.

Well, I suppose it had to happen sometime; there have been some of his books (Island of the Sequined Love Nun, Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove) that I haven’t liked nearly as much as his best works, like Lamb and Fool and Sacre Bleu. It’s reasonable to think that one of them could sink down low enough to actually be unenjoyable. It is not surprising to me that the one that did so was a collaboration, which none of his novels are; and that it was a graphic novel, which is not Moore’s usual medium. I would guess that Moore had little to do with the actual illustrations – which, unless I’m reading the credits in the book wrongly, seem to have been sort of mass-produced? They are all owned by Harper-Collins, and though a half-dozen people are thanked, no one is listed as the actual artist, other than the person who did the cover, Jennyson Rosero – and the illustrations are a fair piece of the problem with this. But really, there isn’t much here that’s good, so I can’t cover Moore on this one. He made a stinker.

All right: details. So this is an apocalypse story. The Griff are, quite literally, monsters from outer space. They are called The Griff because they look something like griffins: four legged beasts with claws, wings, and lizard/dragon like heads with sharp beaks. They arrive in large space ships, much like Independence Day, and immediately fall to wiping out humanity. (Reminded me of Footfall, if any of you are as deep into sci-fi nerdery as I am. Also, they seem to be summoned by an accidental signal sent into space by guys who uncover a mysterious artifact from the sea-bottom, which made me think of Star Trek IV. Woo! Nerdiverse!) So far so good: but that’s where the first problem appears. The design of the book is so poor that there are a couple of pages that literally can’t be deciphered; the rapid transitions between scenes of slaughter and ineffective human resistance to the invasion are just a jumbled mess. But that doesn’t really matter, because the majority of this story is about the survivors of the initial onslaught.

Which is where the larger problems come in.

First, the character development and much of the plot leans heavily on people being comic book hot, and endlessly horny. Now, Moore uses a lot of humor around sex; but this isn’t funny, this is just lame. The two female characters are in absurdly revealing outfits – one woman wears a wetsuit for the entire story, which seems to be the only reason she is a trainer at SeaWorld – and the male characters do nothing but make horndog remarks, which the women shoot down. Then the one woman – not the one in the wetsuit, the one with absurdly large breasts in a skin-tight spaghetti-strap crop-top, which is generally what one wears as the world ends – has a ridiculous sexualized response to finding a BFG, a Big Fucking Gun, with which she’s gonna go Griff-hunting. Because that woman is a gamer, a master programmer and a genius; therefore, somehow, she is capable of using an actual .50-caliber military rifle, since she’s used them in video games. Suuuuuure. I mean, she’s played all the video games, even created some of them, so she’s badass, right? But hey, none of that matters: what matters is that she’s hot. And, as the book goes on, horny. Her character is mostly depicted as a pinup. Who does finally sleep with the goofy nerd horndog who’s been coming on to her, because comics are all about nerd wish fulfillment.

Image result for the griff graphic novel

Then, at the end of the story, though there is a good twist regarding the Griff, it turns out that the Griff are the minions of – the little gray men. Yes, them. Scrawny bodies, large heads, huge featureless black eyes. Them. Just like every other alien story for the last 20 goddamn years. And the humans finally win, because that’s what humans do: we fight, and we kill, and we win. WOO! USA! USA! I mean – Earth! Earth! Earth!

Anyway. Characters are lame, design is poor, the art is too CGI-crisp for my taste (though to each their own) and the climax and ending of the plot were cliché and anti-climactic and annoying.

I hate that Christopher Moore wrote this, but not that much; everyone throws out a pile of crud every once in a while. Much more than that, I hated this book. Do not recommend.

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