Ilium (2003) by Dan Simmons

ilium1stThere’s an episode of South Park (“Cartoon Wars Part II”) that reveals that the writers of Family Guy are actually manatees in a tank that are trained to push around idea balls (beach balls with nouns, verbs, and pop culture references written on them) into a random sequence for each of the show’s cutaway gags (Ex. Peter-eats a sandwich-at the World Cup-with Britney Spears’ vagina). Since viewing that episode, I’ve read a few science fiction novels that feel like the product of a similar process, particularly when they combine previously unrelated SF tropes into a story that seems contrived just for the purpose of combining those tropes. Hmm, steampunk Civil War zombies, anyone? Continue reading