Yes, Paul Darrow's latest trilogy of "crazy shit he types for the sheer hell of it there can be no other explanation dear god please let that be why" Blake's 7 sequel continues.
Now, when we last saw Avon in Lucifer, he was on the run with a redesigned and above all chronically-depressed Orac from the evil and incredibly non-racial-stereotyped Orientals. Why? Because... er... well, mainly because everyone else was dead. Blake, Servalan, the Scorpio crew, the Terran Federation pretty much absolutely everyone and anything that might have made you want to find out what happened next has been discarded with less ceremony than flushing a toilet. Left with a near-mute, self-destructive and charisma-bypassed Avon finally getting off his arse for the first time in fifty years, I dunno what would make anyone want to read more.
Apart from those people who need their "Paul Darrow blows up helicopters with pump-action shotgun" fix, which as we all know, is more addictive than meth ampetamine.
I started reading and then spluttered to a halt before I finished the second page when I reached...
"After an encounter with a stunningly beautiful young Slavic woman, Cougar ventured onto a balcony so that a gentle breeze might cool his hot blood. The young woman, Alexandra, followed him and embraced him from behind. Thus entwined, they both enjoyed the caressing breeze and Raoul, once again experiencing a stirring in his loins, purred with contentment."
Considering this was the first thing NOT involving a potted history of the evil Cougar (wtf is up with these names, Darrow?) and how this hitherto-unmentioned arch enemy of Servalan went to the Empire of Cathay and turned all those slant-eyed wops into the new badass Federation as soon as they put down their chopsticks and opium pipes all of which is really important even though this entire backstory has been pulled out of where Avon used to keep his sonic screwdriver on cold days.
Christ on a bike.
Mohammed on a moped.
Bhudda in a blender.
Come on, man, you have to read this so better people won't have to.
OK. Gabrielle - Travis' very bitter daughter and acknowledged as a cutprice replacement for Servalan by all concerned - decides to hire a bounty hunter to kill Avon. She chooses a very boring and longwinded twat by the name of Solomon who luckily also has a vendetta against Avon, as his parents killed themselves in shame after he failed to defraud the bank they run. No-fist losers. Anyway, the rest of the Quartet (the useless jerks who rule the new regime from a retirement home and make Ben Chatham seem goal-oriented and passionate) are vaguely diverted by this, but apart from exchanging a few emails about how Gabrielle is "a stupid bitch" they stick to their well-defined abilities of doing absolutely fuck all while drinking champagne, the queen of wines. Well, that's what they call it. The fucking morons.
Meanwhile, Avon has discovered the spaceship he's stolen is a piece of crap. And its computer, I am George (yes, that's what the computer is called), could lose a debate with the Womp. And Orac basically seems to have gone mad from 20 years in a swamp and is basically yelling "Oh, grasshopper, you are so freaking screwed!" whenever Avon asks him for help. In desperation, Avon pulls that "hyperjump" bullshit from Barry Letts audio plays to escape Solomon, his pal Absolom, and also a completely different bounty hunter called Alexandra who is after Orac because the Alien Grey - I EXPLAINED THIS WITH THE LAST BOOK AND YES, IT'S AS RETARD NOW AS IT WAS THEN - told her he had it.
Avon's shitty spaceship lurches up at another floating island planet run by pirates. Elsewhere, it turns out Magda - Avon's live-in-lover - did not stupidly die in an easily-avoidable space accident and is alive and loose. Oh, and also she's now a hardcore killer space badass, which is an impressive reputation for someone who lived their entire life on an isolated asteroid not hurting anyone. Mind you, everyone seems to think Travis was some sainted figure who Avon cruelly murdered instead of the genocidal loonbag Avon shot in self defense and died of a completely different injury. I might forgive a bit of lax continuity, but when the retcons are less interesting than the real deal...
OK. The plot. Bounty hunters after Avon. Avon wants some fuel from a pirate. Avon has no money. But Orac has a plan - use some pump-action shotguns to kill some wildlife because the pirate is totally into that shit and Avon's all "The game's afoot, Orac!" because fuck knows I didn't have enough reasons to despise this book already. Avon meets pirate's wife and flirts. I am George electrocutes some pirates who try and break in while Orac goes on and on about what a fuckwit Avon is. Avon meets pirate's second wife and thinks she's ugly. He has a sophisticated dinner party with pirate and they talk about how cool pump-action shotguns are. Pirate's not-ugly wife wants to run off with Avon. Avon says yes, despite having known her for less time than it's taken me to write all this. Her name's Juno, by the by, but she's not half as charismatic than the unwed pipe-smoking Rolling-Stones-loving teenage mum from the movie of the same name. In fact, she's not half as charismatic as I am George.
So, Juno and Avon steal some fuel for the shitty spaceship. Alexandra's space ship attacks. Avon wants to use the onboard machine gun against a spaceship. Orac wonders what the fuck is wrong with Avon he thinks a pissy little Uzi is going to stop a battle cruiser. Oh, and he says Juno is a traitor because her wedding ring is a tracking device and, er, actually she's not a traitor. Avon goes on about how ugly Travis was but Gabrielle is well fit and gives him the raging horn. He decides to head for Earth, even though this is a very long-winded way of blowing his own brains out (and also makes me think of Darrow's first and much-better-written novel, Avon: A Terrible Aspect where Avon's self-pitying emo dad did the exactly the same thing and was consistantly dubbed a no-fist retarded moron for doing such a thing).
Solomon senses Avon's decision using the power of the force and is full of foreboding. Whatever.
Meanwhile, the Quartet patronize some Orientals who patronize them right the hell back in Mandarin, because their Cantonese is rusty. This goes on for more pages than could possibly be polite. One of them is Li Liang who was in the previous book and continues the method of being a more interesting and imaginative character than Avon, even though he's basically Horatio Hornblower in yellow face not saying much.
Only 130 pages to go. You can do this. You can fucking do this.
Juno wants to be dropped off on Mars. Avon drops her off. She threatens him with a pump-action shotgun, but Avon took the bullets out so she looks stupid. Chalking this down to experience, she leaves peacefully, but Avon blows her up with those fuel rods he so desperately needed at a distance. Orac once again reminds the audience that Avon is a complete fucking moron and the most boring serial killer ever. Avon goes to Earth. Solomon and his pal follow, with slightly less foreboding than the last paragraph they were in.
Oh god I forgot the eunuchs the Quartet employ instead of mutoids. I wonder why I forgot.
Meanwhile, Magda has teamed up with Del Grant and they fly spaceships and try not to get blown up and stuff. Madga suggests going to the Orientals and finding out where Avon and Orac are so they can help Del Grant's rebellion or some shit like that. Del Grant asks for a raincheck. Magda guesses "the Dragons" will destroy the Quartet and take over the galaxy, but cannot find a reason for the reader to give a damn about this development should it occur outside her crazy imagination. Del Grant yawns.
Avon reaches Earth and decides to have a face-to-face fight in the Arctic with some bounty hunters - you know, the way his stupid dad died and the reason his entire youth was wasted avenging the prick against his uncle in the exact same circumstances? Even if Darrow thinks no one will spot the similarities, it's still tedious as shit and Orac agrees with me. Avon is so stupid he needs to be told wearing black in the middle of a polar wilderness might make him a target. Christ, is Avon a Chris Lilly character all of a sudden?
It turns out Absolom and Solomon are waiting in the Arctic with a second-hand submarine to cause mischief, but foolishly don't expect Avon with the most powerful computer in the universe and a spaceship full of explosives to blow up said submarine. More forgivably, nor does Solomon expect Avon to try and kill himself of hypothermia by swimming unprotected through arctic waters with a bowie knife and chasing Absolom through the ice like that cursed voodoo tika doll from Trilogy from Terror and then stabbing the poor guy repeatedly till the snow runs red. Cause shooting the guy would be outrageous.
Avon flies off in his ship, and I am George points out that the shitty ship is rapidly running out of fuel and, oh, those pesky Orientals are after them again. Meanwhile in Beijing, capital city of Earth AND THE EMPIRE OF CATHAY!!!!, Li Liang tries to make a phone call without his naked paramor flouncing around the apartment trying to get him all hot and bothered. His pal, Fu Ti, emails I am George and asks Avon round to dinner and if he could, you know, act like a normal human being and not gut people like a fish. Avon agrees, but brings along two phials of rhinocerous semen on the off-change they might prove useful.
Elsewhere, Del Grant sprains his ankle and cries like a wuss.
Avon shags Li Liang's girlfriend. She actually thinks he's crap at sex. Fu Ti asks for him to help Del Grant fight the Quartet. Since his rino spunk of doom have proved completely useless to the ongoing plot, Avon is forced to agree. Grant and Magda are under siege from Federation letterbombs, with lots of leaflets being showered across the rebels being told "Yo, Surrendering Is Well Awesome, It Is!" because this is crueler than, um, doing something with even half a chance of successful. Avon arrives on some planet and finds some woman the bad guys have beaten, tortured, gang-raped and left a broken, suicidal wreck. So he shoots her. Because she totally asked him nicely and told him that Grant and Magda WEREN'T there.
Those Alien Grays turn up and offer to help up Del Grant and Magda, now lead by an alien whose name is an anagram of Ace Nigel. Which is what I will call him to prevent self-harm. Nigel explains they are willing to save Del Grant and Magda and then hand them over to Avon for Orac, and Nigel isn't convinced that Avon will mindlessly slaughter them with a pump-action shotgun like absolutely everyone else he's met since Gauda Prime. Mind you, as Nigel is from a race of aliens who could be outwitted by used teabags, this is actually consistent characterization for once in this benighted series.
Nigel contacts Avon who asks Orac for advice. Orac suggests blowing up I am George with the rino semen, ensuring the Alien Greys cannot control them. So Avon does that thing I just mentioned. He also mentions that Alexandra, Solomon and Absolom are all related and this is another fucking family revenge vendetta to deal with cause there simply aren't enough of them going around already today. Orac suggests they flee to the mysterious and oh-so-spooky-sounding planet called Abyss to lay a trap for everyone else. Orac notes that since Solo and Absol were all shithouse villains, the still-unseen Alexandra should be a pushover.
Meanwhile, Liang has a shitty afternoon answering fan mail so he shoots himself through the head and his body is fed to some aligators by some other Orientals who, needless to say, are all creepy bastards.
Alexandra arrives on Abyss and Avon effortlessly garottes the bitch without breaking stride. And then Del Grant finally turns up, having been locked up with Magda on her spaceship. For some reason. The three of them take off in Alexandra's space ship, being chased by the Orientals and Aliens in an orgy of grey-yellow cliche storm.Oh, and Magda threatens Avon with a gun to get Orac. The Aliens run away and the Orientals capture our, er, um... protagonists. Liang's girlfriend teams up with Avon and they set out to blow up the Base. You know, the dull-named warship where the Quartet spend their time contributing to the galactic supply of methane in lieu of anything worth reading about. Orac puts a dampener on things by revealing that the snog Avon got has left a tracking device implanted in his mouth and Orac uses open-mouth laser dentistry to remove it. Wow. Didn't see that coming.
Anyway, heading off on his own, Avon decides to steal MORE fuel from the exact same pirate planet he did at the start of the book, despite the fact that he and Orac agree it's a pretty pathetic and uninteresting plot development with a book constantly relying on Avon wasting petrol to stop him resolving the plot. So they steal a completely different ship (which surely has its own fuel?) to steal the fuel. Um. OK. They also avoid the Oriental ships, but given they're piloted by deaf-mutes who rely on lipreading, this isn't entirely a shock. Avon considers using Alexandra's antique guns to convince the pirate to part with the fuel... then just shoots the guy. Off-screen. Which is also where Madga and Del Grant have perished after being captured by the Quartet. And also Pandora Ess, leading some Uriah Heap backstabbing git called Adonis to take over as Supreme Commander of the inaccurately-named Quartet since on Gabbs is still alive. This results in a mass orgy with lots of eunuchs. And I honestly have no idea why.
Avon arrives and blows up the Iphegnia retirement home. Orac points out that, as none of the main characters were there, this entire fucking book has been a complete waste of time for all concerned.
Oh, if I gave a shit about any of this my brain would actually hurt.