Moby Dick for the blog generation. Cat food cannery worker Gus Openshaw has one goal in life: to kill a whale. Not just any whale, but a big, blubbery whale that ate his wife, child, and arm during a vicious and unprovoked attack. With a rickety boat and a heavily restrictive whale-hunting license, Gus sets out to exact his revenge. Along the way, Gus keeps an online journal – a blog – to keep the world informed about his misfit crew, his clashes with pirates, his near-fatal incarceration, and his infatuation ...
Moby Dick for the blog generation. Cat food cannery worker Gus Openshaw has one goal in life: to kill a whale. Not just any whale, but a big, blubbery whale that ate his wife, child, and arm during a vicious and unprovoked attack. With a rickety boat and a heavily restrictive whale-hunting license, Gus sets out to exact his revenge. Along the way, Gus keeps an online journal – a blog – to keep the world informed about his misfit crew, his clashes with pirates, his near-fatal incarceration, and his infatuation with a certain island princess. Complete with gorgeous scrimshaw illustrations, 'Gus Openshaw's Whale-Killing Journal' is the hilarious documentation of one man's obsessive pursuit of a giant whale that would make Captain Ahab proud.
As screenwriter Thompson's fiction debut opens, cat-food cannery worker Gus Openshaw has just set off in hot pursuit of the white whale who ate his wife, kid and arm-a beast he insists on calling "Dickhead," in one of the book's many broad winks in Melville's direction. Gus, in addition to sharpening his harpoon and gathering a crew, also somehow finds the time to keep updating his blog, whose entries constitute the book. That's no mean feat since, along with crew members who include semireformed pirate Nelson and cleaver-happy chef Duq, Gus must contend with attacks by pirates, shipwreck after shipwreck, imprisonment in a remote island jail and the violent opposition of a whale-protection organization named Bluepeace. Ludicrous scenarios loom behind every wave: as Gus and his crew prepare to do battle with the whale, a war with the Tortolan Navy forces a desperate search for munitions during which Gus falls in love with an arms dealer's intern who turns out to have a secret royal pedigree. Despite the author's pen-and-ink scrimshaws that end each chapter, the characters remain indistinct. They, and their adventures, are ill-served by the bloggy style, which sinks this strained farce long before Dickhead even nears harpooning range. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A blogger-slash-whaler goes hunting for his prey in the Caribbean-where the waters are shark-infested, the crew is always on the verge of mutiny and absurd plot twists arrive with every other paragraph. Thomson's raucous comedy of errors is the tale of Gus Openshaw, a worker at a cat-food cannery who spends his summer hot on the trail of the "blubbery bastard" who swallowed his wife, child and right arm. Openshaw obsessively details his pursuit on his blog, and he's a little surprised to learn that his readership knows of other obsessive, one-limbed whalers. ("I've been calling [the whale] 'Dickhead,' " he writes. "Everybody always laughs and says that's a witty reference. Hell if I know why.") Joining him on the trip are a short-tempered, murderous cook, a deckhand who's addicted to hull cleaner, the appropriately named Stupid George (who at one point heaves a harpoon handle-first) and Flarq, a Queequeg-like deckhand who draws "scrimshaws" of the events in the story (illustrations appear throughout). Thomson constantly subverts the narrative by concocting increasingly ridiculous turns of events-Openshaw's sued for libeling Dickhead on his blog, after which he falls for the Princess of Whales, the ruler of a small whale-worshipping island who, in turn, happens to work for a black-market arms dealer who appears at crucial moments with, say, a prosthetic arm, or an F-15 fighter jet. Yet Thomson never loses his grip on the plot-he works hard to make the story hang together logically; the brief, blog-length chapters, meanwhile, keep the jokes punchy and entertaining. If Moby-Dick was a richly symbolic work about the whole of human experience, this is just an assortment of riffs on adventuretales, love stories and human idiocy in general. Thomson is no Melville, but there's no question who's the better gag-writer. Dumb fun, smartly imagined.
About the Author: Keith Thomson wrote and directed the short film 'Cupidity', which played in the Sundance Film Festival and won the Laura Napor Award. He has also written feature films for Tri-Star, Paramount, and Disney. His first novel, 'Pirates of Pensacola', was released by St. Martin's Press in 2005.