Book Cover
Title McLendon's Syndrome
Series ---
Author Robert Frezza
Cover Art Peter Scanlan
Publisher Ballantine Books - 1993
First Printing ---
Category Science Fiction / Humour
Warnings None

Main Characters

Ken MacKay, Anna Catarina Lindquist

Main Elements Vampires, aliens

Get set for bad puns, furry aliens and a vampire with razor sharp wit in a hilarious outer-space adventure---

Ken MacKay had an eye for beautiful women, and the blonde he met in a seedy bar on Schuyler's World certainly qualified - even if she was a vampire. oh, not an old-Earth-style monster; rather, a victim of McLendon's Syndrome.

McLendon's syndrome was a strange malady that slowed down the victim's aging process while causing extreme photosensitivity and weird digestive problems: weird as in most sufferers could only metabolize blood and chocolate chip cookies.

It was the illness that had gotten Catarina stranded on Schuyler's World in the first place, and it was her need for transport that made her approach Ken, a crewman on a cramped and decrepit cargo ship. He wasn't eager to have a vampire aboard - not even a gorgeous one. But he ended up getting her berth anyway, or rather she managed to be in the right place at the right time, and knew how to take advantage of his better nature.

Wouldn't you know, it turned out to be a voyage of disaster. The highlights:

  1. The discovery of a corpse completely drained of blood (making Catarina the prime suspect for murder)...
  2. An attack by Rodents (oh, not furry little old-Earth-style critters but furry little alien critters whose love for some aspects of human culture proved to be only skin - or pelt - deep) and...
  3. A highly profitable bit of smuggling.

I very rarely come across a book I cannot finish. Though I read this one to the end, it took some effort not to give up on it. The first part wasn't too bad but the whole second half was terrible.

There were only two redeeming feature, the Rodent named Bucky and those little tidbits randomly dropped around that give you a little thrill when you recognize the novel to which they refer. Things like inns called the Prancing Pony of the Vulgar Unicorn. Though its sometimes annoying when you know a reference is being made but the joke goes right over your head. I've read other books that drop this little hints around but even if you hadn't read the books from which they came, you can still figure it out.

And if you don't like puns, stay far, far away. I can stand Piers Anthony, but these puns were just horrible.

Overall, the situations were absurd, and the characters annoying (granted they were supposed to be, but one can only take so much stupidity at any one point in time). And if you choose to read this book for its vampire content (as I did), don't. Vampirism is little more that a minor thread, its just a disease that has some vampiric symptoms that could be replaced by any other disease without affecting the storyline much. The only interesting thing is trying to figure out if the main character was going to catch it or not...lets just say the ending was kind of obvious.

So I can't recommend it as a vampire book, I can't recommend it as an SF book, basically, I don't recommend it at all unless you're really into the bad pun scene.

Posted: December 2004


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