July 19, 2004

Scream For Jeeves, by P.H. Cannon

This is the Lovecraft/Wodehouse parody I mentioned, a couple of months ago. I wanted to dig into it immediately on arrival, naturally, but I restrained myself because I wanted to see if I could turn the silly bit from the above link into a full-length story. I got a fair ways, then ran out of gas. And then, a few days ago, I really needed something to distract me from Russian Bride, of which you'll hear more in the next day or so. And Scream for Jeeves was just sitting there, and, well, here we are.

I have good news and bad news. The good news is, the book really is genuinely funny. It contains three Jeeves and Bertie stories, each of which follows the classic pattern: an old friend of Bertie's requires his help--well, Jeeves' help, really--and Bertie clusters round, Jeeves saving the day. The author has Bertie Wooster's narrative style down pat.

At the same time, each story is a retelling of a classic Lovecraft tale, with admixtures from various others. And here's the first bit of bad news: the three Lovecraft tales are "The Rats in the Walls", "Cool Air", and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward". The first of the three is one of my favorites, but I fear I've never much cared for the other two, and that was a disappointment. I had visions of Bertie vacationing in the shadowy town of Innsmouth: "A bit scaly, what, Jeeves? I mean to say, you'd think they were all French." "Indeed, sir, the residents do seem to have a batrachian aspect." But no, it was not to be.

One gag that's repeated in each story is a conversation between Bertie and one of the other characters in which the other character speaks in dark purple Lovecraftian prose and Bertie is simply himself. The difference in style is quite funny--for awhile. The other character never responds to Bertie's inanities, indeed, never seems to notice them.

On the other hand, there are some really good bits; I rather liked the idea of Bertie Wooster and Charles Dexter Ward treating Erich Zann to some old Broadway showtunes. Plus, there are some neat illustrations by J.C. Eckhardt.

Posted by Will Duquette at July 19, 2004 08:08 PM

Phil said:

Will, did you make up those quotes from Innsmouth?

Will Duquette said:

Of course! That's the sort of thing I was hoping for. And I got it, really, just not in the Lovecraft settings I wanted.

Phil said:

Well, kudos for you! I thought they were funny enough for the master.