Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jack Bottomly: Threat to National Security



A review of Ray Smith's The Flush of Victory: Jack Bottomly Among the Virgins, hit my mailbox yesterday. In the interest of full disclosure, dear Thirsty readers, I type it out in its entirety here. To say it is negative would be an understatement. But I found it also quite funny, especially the bit at the end where our dear reviewer seems to suggest the book poses some sort of national threat. I completely agree, of course: this book is a threat to national security, morality, the remaining shreds of our military honour. If we can get this into a 2nd printing, I'll be quoting liberally from this review. Forget the Globe: "a dark, Swiftian distaste for the human animal runs beneath ... as defiant as anything Smith has published in the course of his shape-shifting odyssey as an outsider to mainstream literary culture"; forget the Star: "A New Canadian Hero Arises ... Long May He Romp." I'd much rather this: "Vulgar and raunchy ... bring(s) the honour and pride of those who serve in Canada's air force intelligence circles to a never-before-reached low. ... has .. the potential to cause any number of problems -- in Canada and abroad."

Anyway ... the review.

Vulgar and raunchy, the "shenanigans" of fictional character Major Jack Bottomly, second in command of DNDI/Air bring the honour and pride of those who serve in Canada's air force intelligence to a never-before-reached low.
If you can stomach the crude smut that is so liberally sprinkled throughout the book, you will come across a plot involving unlikely bedfellows. In the spirit of global accord that preceded the SALT II talks, agents from Russia, England and the US "team up" to crack a coding device that was created on a shoe-string budget by a Canadian professor. Casualties include several agents as well as two older 'birds' -- an Australian Neptune and an Argus.
Bottomly is the antitheses if everything known about those who serve in the air force blue (actually green -- for this fictional episode begins in 1979). He is a foul-mouthed, filthy-minded, beer-guzzling lazy lout wqho schemes (somewhat successfully) to defraud Canadian taxpayers. In teh end, he also helps plant a 'nuisance' virus that infects intelligence computers around the world.
Author Ray Smith, who teaches English literature at Montreal's Dawson College, has a flair for languages. His ability to phonetically capture the nuances of English as spoken by those who were not born and raised in English Canada merits the occasional chuckle.
The author plans for this book to become the first in a series of Bottomly misadventures by the dastardly Bottomly. With the development of this "off-colour" character, the author has garnered for his hero the potential to cause any number of problems -- in Canada and abroad.
Future episodes will not be on my reading list.

3 comments:

Zachariah Wells said...

Heh. Where was this published, Dan?

Daniel said...

Airforce Magazine, a Canadian Airforce publication. They took the book a touch personally.

Alex said...

Wow. You got a review in Airforce Magazine. How many publishers can say that?

Reminds me of Norman Podhoretz calling Catch-22 a slur on all the noble men and women who served in the U.S. military during WWII.