Thursday, June 21, 2012

REVIEW: Jimmy Stu Lives!

Title: Jimmy Stu Lives!
Author: Kent McDaniel
Genre: science fiction
Price: $2.99 (ebook) $9.95 (paperback)
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing
ISBN: 978-1935563839
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

I recently joined the Chicago Writers Association.  I figured that, as a Chicago writer, I ought to give it a shot.  Somehow in the process of joining I came to the attention of Kent McDaniel, who notified me that his new novel Jimmy Stu Lives! was available as an ebook.  Since it was only $2.99, I decided to take a flyer.  On balance, I’m glad I did.

The title character, James Stuart Sloan AKA Jimmy Stu, is the minister at a large church / TV ministry operation in Nashville.  The book starts with him having a crisis of faith, said crisis being exceptionally ill-timed in that he needs to go on for a televised sermon in ten minutes.  He "resolves" the crisis and decides to tell his flock that God wants his body frozen so that, in the future, he can be revived to fulfill God’s undisclosed mission.

This being science fiction, that’s exactly what happens, and Jimmy Stu wakes up a good century in our future.  The first big wrinkle is that he’s being kidnapped by members of his now massive flock who want him to reform the church, which has now become a major political power in the mid-South.  From this point on, hijinks ensure.

Although the novel’s not especially billed as satire, I suspect that some of Kent’s worldbuilding is intended to put a satiric light on current events.  There’s more than a bit of “if this goes on…” in how the USA of the Future looks.  There’s also flying cars, which don’t actually seem to add much to the story.  Also not adding much to the story is where Stu falls in with a stereotypical hillbilly family. 

Having said that, I found Jimmy Stu an entertaining character, which makes the book worth reading.  This is definitely worth tossing in your bag to take to the beach.


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