Nine years after “The Fall” (a series of natural and man-made disasters that result in the collapse of civilization), Mortimer Tate emerges from his hidey-hole and kills the first person he encounters due to a case of mistaken intentions. Loneliness and an inexplicable need to find his estranged wife drive him to cross the post-apocalyptic South and learn how to survive in the violent new world that has emerged while he hid in his cave. As he struggles to make his way, he gets caught up in a suicide mission to save “Joey Armageddon’s Sassy a Go-Go”…a chain of trading posts/go-go bars/hotels/gambling dens that represent the new civilization.
Victor Gischler’s “Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse” is a funny, violent bit of modern pulp fiction. One blurb describes this as a cross between Christopher Moore and Quentin Tarantino…which is apt, though I wish that Gischler had Tarantino’s ear for dialogue. The plot is tight and moves along at a good speed. There are some good laughs and the author displays a nice dry wit at times, coupled with over-the-top violence. The introduction of Ted, a strangely familiar guide, is particularly funny. The characters grow and adapt to the strange world that is violently trying to emerge from the ashes of catastrophe. There are no deep questions answered here about human nature and its ability and aptitude for destroying itself…it is all about guns, sexy women, and the pursuit of good coffee.
I’ve read some reviews that class this book as misogynistic or sexist. GGG is clearly not misogynistic…the female characters are realistic and display a degree of strength and practicality that Mortimer and the other male characters often do not. There is also some very strong smaller female roles that are presented in a positive light. However, the world presented is very much a man’s world where women often have nothing to offer but their bodies in return for safety. I don’t think that this situation is presented as a sexist point of view but rather as part of the pulpy kitsch that the author is trying to invoke. I can see where this could be off-putting, but there are no deep statements attempting to be made by this book, sexist or otherwise.
Overall, GGG was a fun ride that I can now say I enjoyed but probably won’t need to revisit. Like a summer blockbuster, you’re not left with much to chew on after the ride is over but you reveled in letting it all play out.