Killer Crabs

Guy N. Smith

This book well and truly SUCKED WOOKIE BALLS!! Coming from me, this statement is made all the more staggering when you consider the following information nuggets:
1. I read the first book in the series, Night of the Crabs, and really liked it so I knew EXACTLY what kind of book I was picking up.
2. I joy at 50’s horror movies and occasionally binge on campy horror and tie in books (Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.) so this book is right in my wheel house.
3. I’m a guy.
4. While possibly redundant with 3. above, my maturity level peaked sometime between age 12 and 14. Therefore blood, gore, sex and nudity are like manna from heaven to me and words "boner" and "boobies" makes me giggle. 
Thus, given my gender, my lack oflevel of maturity, my love for the genre and my fond memories of the first installment of this very series, how in the name of all that is good and holy did this novel manage to FUCK THE POOCH as bad as it did? In the ramble to follow, I will try to explain that, but the short sound bite answer is…IT JUST DID (I refer you back to the sucking of wookie balls). Rather than laughing and prancing with glee over the wonderful CAMPYness of it, I groaned myself hoarse and found nothing but frustrated expectations and lost opportunities.
Before I splain what I found so happy-stealing about this paper-turd, let me give you at least a brief synopsis of the, for lack of a better word, plot.
The giant “crusties” are back and grouchier than ever. This timethey’ve landed on an exclusive Australian tourist island and find themselves up against a stellar cast of Darwin rejects:

Klin, expert fisherman with a mysterious past and a serious tent-pole problem that may be low grade PRIAPISM;

Harvey Logan, douchy, big game hunter with a massive gun compensating for a very limp pistol;

Caroline du Brunner, wealthy divorcee and EXTREMELY crowded cock motel (I'm talking major over-booking here);

Captain Manton, ugly, scarred, one-eyed boat skipper who STILL manages to boink Caroline du Nympho into multiple leg-twirling, back-arching, vision blurring splooges; and

Cliff Davenport, professor, crab expert and the only penis not serviced at the “motel du Brunner.”
Plus, a small army of soldiers and military types who neither kill any crabs nor mount Ms. du Brunner. Basically, they are worthless cannon fodder and serve the same role as the nameless “red shirts” in a Star Trek away mission.
Okay…now on to the suckage.
A. Not enough CRABS with my SEX.
Okay, now we all know that sex/nudity and violent, bloody horror go together like peanut-butter and chocolate. HOWEVER, this pairing comes primarily in two separate combinations that are very, very different.
The first combination (Combo #1) is the typical Hollywood HORROR film that has a scary, kick-ass monster and a high body counts with generous helpings of gore, BUT ALSO throws in a couple of completely meaningless and unnecessary sex scenes/shower montages with the bubbly, buxom but brain-dead coeds who eventually gets turned into giblets.
The second combination (Combo #2) is the typical WHOREHORROR PORN film that bends, spreads and bounces from one “money shot” to the next with little or shitty dialogue and then throws in a couple of meaningless and unnecessary scenes with a douchetard in a latex, monster suit looking like a reject from a Roger Corman movie.
**Quick way to tell the difference between a Combo #1 and a Combo #2. Unless you are a complete FREAK, there are two things you will NEVER do before watching a Combo #2 film: (1) make popcorn and (2) watch with your parents. Additionally, a Combo #1 is a movie you usually watch once (maybe twice) straight through and then talk about with your friends. A Combo #2 film is one you usually watch the same 5 to 10 minutes 50 to 100 times, may “never see the end” and deny, deny, deny having ever heard of to your friends. 
Regardless of which Combo floats your boat (I'm not judging), from a literary standpoint, NO ONE wants to read the screen play of a Combo #2, which is exactly what this book felt like from the get go. It was constant groan-inducing (no pun intended) sex with an occasional Crab visit. In fact there were more sightings of Caroline du "fuck machine" spelunking solo in the fur caves than giant, havoc-wreaking shell tops GINSUing the local populace. Here are a few statistics to support the above:
Even when sex isn’t actually going on, the narrative constantly wink winks in that direction. Case in point, here is the first mention of sweet Ms Caroline in the book:
The most physically perfect woman he had ever known. Firm breasts, pink nipples that changed to a deeper hue as they stiffened with arousement. Delicate white thighs, the hair between seductively trimmed.
Eyes: n/a, Hair (on head): n/a, Height: n/a, Weight: n/a, BRAIN: n/a.
B. PERVY use of serious MEDICAL conditions.
From Chapter 1:
He could still feel the deep gouges made by her long fingernails on his shoulders and chest during those two lengthy orgasms when he had thought she was throwing a fit, tearing at his skin and pleading with him not to ease up. He hadn’t. No woman had ever seen Klin spent.
UH…’s a tip. If you’re a guy and find yourself doing lots and lots of genital gymnastics and NEVER “spending” yourself, you SIR have a medical condition called “Delayed Ejaculation” and should get yourself checked out, pronto! 
In addition to “DE”, it looks like Klin was also suffering from a mild form of PRIAPISM. I'm not sure how else to explain a 40+ year old man, alone on the water experiencing random stiffness: “He cursed as he suddenly became aware of a hardness, and a protrusion in the front of his shorts.”
...and later (again alone at sea) “The was a slight bulge in the front of his shorts which proceeded to grow rapidly once his thoughts fully centered on it.”
Personally, I cry bullshit on this. When you’re a teenager, sure, a strong wind is enough to have you facing north. However, as a 40 year old guy, I can assure you that these things no longer happen “accidentally” and NEVER…NEVER without the owner’s awareness, let alone consent.
C. Ah,the GIANT CRABS…descriptions that make you say…HUH?
The last 4 categories all have to do with the writing itself starting with some descriptions I just found stupid. Not campy fun, just dumb. Now I admit that I am no expert on Crabs Of Unusual Size or C.O.U.S. (*nods to Princess Bride for the assist*), but the following descriptions of the mega critters just didn’t work for me:
**“He could smell the beast’s fetid breath.”….
**“It was as though the crustacean, was grinning evilly to itself, aware of its own invincibility.”
**“The expression on those crustacean features was one of sheer gloating.”
**“The huge crab hissed angrily.”
**“His antennae waved menacingly.”
Fetid breath...grinning...gloating? Are you kidding me? A gold star to anyone who can show me a photo of a crab gloating (believe me, I looked). Hissing? Hissing for cryin out loud? Plus, I’m sorry, I don’t care how big and ugly the crabs are or how fetid their breath is, there is no such thing as a “menacing” antennae.Also, for the record, the commas in the second quote above are exactly how they appear in the book, but I didn’t even have the energy to get into the punctuation.
D. Can I get some HYPERBOLE to go with that EXAGERRATION  
Worse than the stupid was the attempt at “over the top” melodrama in describing the Crabs and their reign of terror. Here is my absolute favorite passage (note the awesome use of the word “audaciously”):
It was merely a tactical withdrawal, their leader being the last to leave, nippers raised towards the destroyer audaciously, a crustacean promise that mankind had not seen the last of his grotesque army. They would be back and their return would herald death and destruction unprecedented since the dawn of evolution.”
Since the dawn of evolution? Wow, those are some pretty audacious nippers. And how about this gem: ”There was no question of driving the creatures back to the sea. They were invincible.” …. “Once again, the giant crab had proved their supremacy over mankind. This was only the beginning.”

NOOOOOOOOOO!! PLEASE, let it be closer to the END!!!!
E. This writing has angered my BRAIN
Worse still, I actually found myself biting back frustration, swallowing much bile and losing a series of battles with my gag reflex with large portions of the writing that stretched my suspension of belief to the breaking point. Here’s an example (quoted exactly as written):
He had barely completed two strokes of a panic-stricken crawl before something grips him by both thighs, checking his progress immediately. The sudden pain was agonizing, but it lasted for no more than a second. Then he was free of whatever held him. He struck out again blindly.
Something was wrong, and he could not determine what it was. He felt numbed, and his leg thrusts did not appear to be propelling him along as they should have done. In fact, he appeared to be making no progress at all.
Something bobbed against him. He grabbed at it for support. A piece of driftwood, maybe. He clung to it with both hands, and kicked again with his legs. Once more his efforts appeared to be future, and then he saw the object on which he was relying to help him gain safety of the coral. A human leg. His own!!”
Now, here is the same paragraph with the noisy running commentary that was screaming in my head as I read it:
He had barely completed two strokes of a panic-stricken crawl before something grips him by both thighs, checking his progress immediately [I believe the correct words to follow should have been “He shit himself and screamed, ‘AHHHHHHH’”]. The sudden pain was agonizing [possibly because a car-sized Crabosaur is about to turn you into second base], but it lasted for no more than a second.[Whew, that was lucky…wait a second…WHAT…THE…FUCK?] Then he was free of whatever held him.[Free….and quite a few pounds lighter as well Captain Oblivious] He struck out again blindly. [My exact description of Smith’s attempt to write this scene]
Something was wrong, [Ya think?] and he could not determine what it was.[That’s because you are the president and founding member of the STUPIDOUCHE club]. He felt numbed, and his leg thrusts did not appear to be propelling him along as they should have done. [You’ve got three guess as to why that is…go…] In fact, he appeared to be making no progress at all.[Okay, just so I understand it, you are too “panic-stricken” to notice your massive, rapid weight loss and accompanying agony, but aware enough to notice you’re water speed is not up to par]. Something bobbed against him.[Oh shit, I certainly hope it’s not Klin’s massive erection because that think is out of control]] He grabbed at it for support. [Fucksticks,would you please die already] A piece of driftwood, maybe.[Uh, nope…NOT driftwood genius] He clung to it with both hands [ This is getting Ri-goddamn-diculous], and kicked again with his legs.[Are we seriously still playing this game?] Once more his efforts appeared to be futile,[and once more, my gag-reflex was overcome causing me to throw up a little] and then he saw the object on which he was relying to help him gain safety of the coral.[skip the drum roll, because I no longer give a shit] A human leg.[welcome to the plot assbarf] His own!![The fact that Smith felt the need to add those final two words makes me want to beat him to death with Klin’s over-active erection]
It’s been a while since we had any sex quotes in this review, so lets finish up with a couple of encores from our resident sperm bank:
Klin was watching her thighs closely. They had parted slightly; no more than an inch or so, just sufficient for him to see part of the damp pinkness which lay beneath the dark hair. He waited for them to open further, but they didn’t. Caroline du Brunner wasn’t going to make it quite so easy for him this time.
…..SCREEEECHHHHH!!! Full stop…Not going to make it easy? She’s lying naked on a bed exposing herself to you, Fucktard…that is called a done deal!!
“…his gaze focused on the top of the dark V of lower hair…She, in turn, was staring at the bulge in the front of his shorts.” I’m no prude, but this is making me want to watch Osmond Family reruns. These people are seriously and completely out of control. By the way, when the crabs invaded the island, they marched in a V formation. Coincidence or something dumber? You decide.
As I begin to wind up this review, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn’t include at least one quote containing the words “throbbing” and “pulsing,” so here you go: “With a deft movement she had undone his waistband, and now her fingers were stroking throbbing naked flesh.”...“Slowly she eased Harvey Logan’s trouser zip down, and furtively located the pulsing length of flesh inside.” My only comment here is that Caroline du Bang me hasn’t been furtive since she was in diapers. The woman is a fucking machine…literally.
F. A few special, noteworthy sentences among all the other wonderful prose.
Finally, I would like to share my absolute favorite “non-sexually” related sentences just to show that Smith didn’t need to be talking about sex to fuck up a story. First, we have the single must redundantly redundant example of redundancy, I seen in a long time: “It was invincible. And it did not know the meaning of defeat.”…UH...never mind, you're an idiot.
”Their military intelligence, second to none, neither man nor beast, had no way of overcoming the noise made by those tremendous pincers as they moved.” A very special prize for anyone who can diagram that sentence for me because I was lost after the second comma. 
And last but not least, the sentence everyone waits for in order to confirm that they are in fact dealing with corny of the highest order: “Naturally, we cannot release anything like that in the interest of science.” On that note, and in the interest of science, I rest my case.

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