A Farce to Be Reckoned With

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Another "catch up" book: I should have read it sooner after I bought it. (I had the receipt stuck in between the back cover: purchased at the long-defunct Stroudwater Books in Dover, NH on April 5, 1996. Hey, a mere 22 and a half years, give or take!)

It is the concluding entry in the so-called "Millennial Contest" series writtn by Robert Zelazny and Robert Sheckley, now both passed on. I read the previous books (Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming and If at Faust You Don't Succeed) at some point before I kept track of such things. Fortunately, the book is enjoyable as a standalone.

The book is copyright 1995; Zelazny died in June of that year. So who knows what the Sheckley/Zelazny ratio of book content is?

The demonic protagonist of the previous book, Azzie Elbub, is still looking for ways for Evil to triumph over Good. He's in the Renaissance era, and morality plays are all the rage. Hey, Azzie thinks, how about an immorality play? He hires/tempts a cynical playwright with his idea: take some ordinary folk, offer them their dearest wish, which will be granted them despite their lack of heroic effort and manifest character flaws. The real-time, real-life results will be immortalized in the play.

A simple scheme, and it would have worked too, except for those darned kids the intervention of the forces of Good, and a whole lot of unintented consequences that threaten to rip apart the nature of reality.

To be honest, these books are frothy and forgettable (I've already forgotten about the first two), but a lot of fun to read.