Title: Gestapo Mars
Author: Victor Gischler
Publisher: Titan Books
Disclosure: A free copy of this book was furnished by the publisher for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.
Victor Gischler is identified on Wikipedia as an American author of humorous crime fiction; an Anthony Award and Edgar Award finalist. He also writes satirical science-fiction. His books have titles like “Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse”.
“Gestapo Mars; A Carter Sloan Novel” is a s-f pastiche of s-f action thriller clichés. It reads like the latest in a series, although it is the only Carter Sloan novel.
Sloan is a bioengineered government assassin who is thawed from cryosleep after 258 years. All space has been conquered by the Third Reich, which has made Mars its headquarters. But the Reich is fighting a revolt led by its own Brass Dragon, the head of the Reich Gestapo. Sloan is disguised as Father Argus, a Jesuit priest from Vatican Five’s home world, and sent to assassinate the goddess-like daughter of the Brass Dragon. (Don’t worry if this doesn’t make any sense. Sloan, as a government agent, doesn’t wonder about anything; he just accepts his assignment.)
“Gestapo Mars” (a $14.95 277-page paperback; Kindle $7.99) is a flashy sci-fi thriller more like a Marvel superhero movie than a literary s-f novel. Sloan, disguised as a priest, flies on a commercial space liner to a planet that look like sleazy secret-agent lairs. He has non-stop sex with a FuckBot. He is menaced by the enemy’s thugs:
“The ground shook as two more goons landed on either side of me. I allowed myself a micro-second glance up to see where they’d dropped from, caught sight of the catwalk two stories up. Not only had these other two jokers been tailing me the whole time without my noticing, but they both had to be augmented to make a leap like that and land ready to fight.
I ducked under a high kick from the first one, but the other landed a heavy body blow and I felt a rip crack. Definitely augmented.”
He meets exotic aliens, one of whom is a genuine Jesuit priest. The Catholic church of this future has been ecumenical about accepting aliens.
“Father Aju was an alien, a squat orange creature with rubbery skin and eyes on the end of short stalks that protruded from the head. Aliens were scarce this close to old Earth, but it made sense in a way. Even the least ambitious priest wanted to do more than operate an automated confessional kiosk on Luna, so they dumped the shit job onto the alien. Typical.”
“Two more reptiles rumbled into the clearing, each step shaking the ground. Three of them. A dozen feet high at the hip, looking like Tyrannosaurus. A black clad man with a swastika on his back clung to a saddle on the back of each lizard, reins clutched in one fist, the other hand holding a ten-foot shock lance.”
“Gestapo Mars” is geared toward action-adventure loving adolescents who like “Star Wars”-type interstellar vistas with non-stop action and lots of wry humor of the toilet variety.
“‘She’s not on my list.’
‘She would not be, sir,’ Aju said. ‘She is not an agent of the resistance, but rather a sympathizer. She is the heiress to the Bowel Fragrance line of products.’
‘The what?’ I asked.
‘Pills that make a person’s bowel movements smell pleasant,’ Aju explained. ‘I understand Garden Meadow is quite popular.’
‘For Christ’s sake.’”
“Gestapo Mars” is a good purchase for high-school libraries and others where edgily-humorous space opera is popular.