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Ermahgerd. Berks.

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Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls


Enormity - W.G. Marshall So, you might think from the awesome cover and enticing blurb that this book is going to be a quirky riff on Japanese daikaiju movies, or Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in reverse, plus Kill Bill: sad-sack government contractor Manny Lopes is working in Korea when he accidentally runs afoul of a brainwashed, movie-obsessed North Korean assassin in cute leggings and the two of them are somehow increased in size a thousand times (don't ask me; it involves dark matter).But instead of the fun book I was expecting, I got a book that is not entirely un-fun, but certainly not my kind of fun. Mostly, the big joke is this: how gross are we, on a microscopic level? What if we were 6,000 feet tall, and all our various oozes and flakes and parasites were enlarged accordingly? Wouldn't that be disgusting? Yes, yes it would.I made the mistake of reading this while eating lunch a few times, and trust me, long passages about what's going on with the mites on your scalp or how our bodies are constantly covered in a thick sheen of goopy oils don't go super well with a sandwich or a Starbucks. About half the book is this kind of gross-out body horror stuff, with a bunch of tertiary army characters and damsels in distress climbing around on Manny and the assassin's bodies, building shelters out of flakes of dandruff, installing satellite installations in gobs of earwax, rappelling down a pimpled forehead, getting mired sebum or swept away and nearly drowned in a river of piss. Or, and didn't you know this was coming, menaced by a mass (an explosion?) of surging, leaping sperm. Massive, man-sized sperm. Uh huh. Giant sex, when viewed from the perspective of an un-giant: ugh?So on the one hand, this is certainly a unique take. And what he does with the giants themselves is fairly interesting and takes the premise just as seriously: now that Manny is huge, for example, he becomes further and further removed from the petty cares of humanity, especially once he comes to terms with the fact that every time he takes a step, he's causing massive earthquakes, toppling cities and killing thousands. The death toll in this short book is easily in the hundreds of millions, with entire cities wiped out in wrath-of-god style attacks, or maybe just an accidental footstep, and great pains are taken to make clear just how unstoppable these beasts are: a simple breath or uttered syllable creates superheated tornadoes that sweep airplanes from the sky, while bullets and bombs bounce right off their thickened epidermis. Epidermises. Epidermi. The assassin character is underused but has an interesting backstory -- stolen from her grandmother as a child and trained to be a killer for the North Korean government, she is drug-addicted, mentally unstable, and maybe she thinks she is Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (she's wearing the Wicked Witch of the East's leggings though).But on the other: it is basically nearly 300 pages of seeing how far this particular joke can be pushed. And even before the somewhat confused and arbitrary ending (which, at least, pays off on the penis enlargement joke in the prologue), I was already pretty much done. I think it was the herd of 1000x sperm attacking the love interest that did it.