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Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse
Reviewed by Jay Willson, © 2008

Format: Book
By:   Victor Gischler
Genre:   Apocalypse comedy
Review Date:   August 11, 2008
RevSF Rating:   8/10 (What Is This?)

No more coffee.

No gasoline or fuel.

No transportation.

Go-Go Girls.

It’s the end of the world.

Victor Gischler wants us to believe that, along with a whole lot of other crazy stuff, in his novel, Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse.

You ought to add Victor Gischler's work to your to-do list right quick. As the author of novels of crime fiction with titles such as Gun Monkeys, Pistol Poets and the Anthony Award finalist Shotgun Opera, Gischler has written fun, riveting and fast-paced novels for years now.

I have yet to read one that I could put down without being pissed at having to do so. Reading a Gischler novel is like driving a fast car downhill with your foot over the brake, but loving the speed so much that you’re afraid to press the damn thing.

The protagonist is Mortimer Tate, an ex-insurance salesman turned survivalist, who at one point in his life left the world behind. He moved to the top of a mountain far away from civilization, and said goodbye to everyone and everything. Mortimer decides he’s ready to re-enter the world in hopes of locating some companionship. In doing so, he walks down the mountain into the last days of man on earth.

What follows is one crazy twist or turn after another, as Mortimer sets the goal of locating his ex-wife in this new world full of post-apocalyptic insanity.

Realizing the hell that the world has become, he feels he owes it to her to make sure she is safe. Nothing in the country is as it was before, and Mortimer has to adjust to the ways of the new world, before he ends up another casualty of it.

Weaving through Red Striped officers of martial law and bizarre survivors who seem friendly at first but ready to stab him in the back the next, Mortimer has his work cut out for him. A lucky break involving some stored alcohol provides him with wealth, but Mortimer does his best to lose that fortuitous situation.

He makes friends along the journey, the trick-shot Buffalo Bill (who does his best to look like the historical figure) and Sheila the sexy dancer, who owes her life to Mortimer through a moment of peril that brought them together, which, of course, involves narrow escapes from death.

Moving is a huge challenge, as walking on foot is the main source of travel left. The only mode of transportation is a flatbed rail system, which is manually powered by musclemen sustained on drugs and stimulants. Electricity, for anyone that has it, is generated by criminals placed on bicycles to pedal away their sentences. The principal user is the only form of commerce and civilization left, Joey Armageddon, the owner of the Sassy A-Go-Go joints. Mortimer meets the covert Armageddon, and the results take the story in yet another interesting direction.

Considering that stories involving the end of civilization are hot again, it’s nice to read one that just has fun with the concepts and doesn’t take itself so seriously.

Go-Go Girls pulls the reader into the chaos of the story. If you’re sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, give this book a shot at lightening your load. I guarantee your life isn’t as bad as Mortimer’s.

Comics editor Jay Willson feels fine.

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