Kat at FanLit
Everyone knows that that the invertebrates of Neptune are the most intelligent minds in the galaxy. That’s how, years ago, a bored mollusk from Neptune was able to conquer the Earth and set himself up as Warlord. To subdue the planet he had to use a few nasty tricks such as doping the water supply with anti-aggression drugs, but now that he has all of humanity under his tentacle, Emperor Mollusk is actually a pretty swell guy and he has even developed a soft spot (or should I say “softer spot”) for planet Earth, though he’ll be quick to tell you that he’s not reformed — just retired. Nowadays, he spends most of his time tinkering in his laboratory and coming up with ways to solve Earth’s numerous problems. He fixed the energy crisis long ago and so far he’s been able to protect Earth from aliens from Mars, Venus, and Saturn. Pretty good for a slimy cephalopod that you could easily squash under the heel of your boot.
Unfortunately, most of Emperor Mollusk’s experiments on Earth tend to cause unexpected and dastardly consequences, and the emperor usually ends up needing to develop even more brilliant solutions to the problems he created. Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain is an account of the Emperor’s various adventures as he attempts to save humans from all the disasters that would not have befallen them if the Emperor had never set his slippery tentacle on the planet in the first place. Disasters such as an island of radioactive dinosaurs, giant fireants, missing countries, an anti-time radio, and the rampaging brain of Madam Curie. He even has to deal with assassins from Atlantis, killer scorpions, a clone of himself, and the sinister brain who wants to challenge him for world domination.
Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain, A. Lee Martinez’s newest novel, is a hilariously wacky story with a preposterous premise, impossible characters, and an absurd plot. I’m rather picky about humorous fantasy so I’m surprised that I enjoyed the non-stop comedy here, but Martinez has his pacing down and he knows exactly when to stop. I like Martinez’s bizarre situations and droll sense of humor, and he balances all of it with a well-developed protagonist who we can’t help but love, even though he’s slimy (literally) and he keeps telling us he’s an evil overlord.
Fans of Douglas Adams’ THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY shouldn’t miss Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain. Let me highly recommend the audio version produced by Audible Frontiers and performed by actor Scott Aiello. This was the first time I’d heard Mr. Aiello (he is a new narrator) and I was extremely impressed with his performance — he made the novel even funnier. He was absolutely perfect for this role and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.
I wrote a remarkably similar review for one of this author's other novels, but the same holds true here...
If you like Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Robert Asprin, Christopher Moore or Terry Pratchett, then this is a mug of ale or glass of wine from the same brewery my friend. Some good ol' light-hearted fun.
My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.
This is a delightfully funny tale about a former super villain and super genius, Emperor Mollusk, who is so incredibly brilliant, he becomes bored and creates dooms day inventions that he then must save the earth from. Very entertaining. Great narration. The story wandered a little but still delivered a great listen.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
APOLOGIZING FOR CONDESCENSION IS USUALLY CONDESCENSION ITSELF.
Almost every planet and moon in the solar system has intelligent life. About the only planets not mentioned where Mercury and Uranus. We also have people from Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, Mole People, Dinosaur Island, etc...
This is a light fun listen. It is smartly written. It is amazing all the characters and places, Martinez is able to squeeze into it. It is not LOL, but mostly a feel good smile type of book.
I liked it, but did not love it like I have Christopher Moore or John Scalzi.
The narrator did an amazing job. He did several characters, all done well. He understood the material and portrayed it just as the author should have wanted.
This audiobook is, quite simply, a ton of fun! I can hardly imagine actually reading it - that is just how strong of a performance Scott Aiello, the narrator, gives! Like Martinez’s other novels, this is a rather mad-cap adventure full of hilarity, witty humour and some quite likable - not to mention unforgettable - characters. The novel is set primarily on Earth (or Terra as it is referred to here) and seems inspired by 1950s-60s type space dramas. The titular character, Emperor Mollusk, hails from Neptune (though they don’t care for him much back there). Mollusk has conquered Terra (without a single gunshot fired!), but has retired from the world-conquering business after some recent unpleasantness with Saturn.
When a Venutian warrior with a grudge attempts to take Mollusk under protective custody (to later try him for his crimes committed on Venus), she ends up falling in with Mollusk and his faithful ultra-pede (a centipede from Hell) as they track down the assassination plot to its perpetrator. Their adventures range from Atlantis, a Lost World type island in the Bermuda triangle, a visit to the moon and some epic battles with the radioactive brain of Madame Curie. The tale is filled with adventure, excitement and plenty of laughs.
The performance, though, really sets the book apart. The voices Aiello creates for each character are wonderful and quite distinct. He makes Mollusk sound like a cross between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Stewie Griffin. The Brain also sounds quite like Vizzini and there are many other convincing and entertaining voices throughout. Not only will I continue to follow Martinez’s work, but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this very talented narrator as well!
I love a good story no matter what kind it is, and to me a good story is more that just good grammar, tight structure, colorful characters, or intricate plots. A good story makes a reader care about it.
I always enjoy a story told from the viewpoint of an egotistical villainous super-genius. The tone is refreshingly free of angst and worry; just cold, calculated, clever, and often overly polite, dialogue. Emperor Mollusk is just so damn intelligent - and he knows it - and yet relate-able, I could not help listening to the entire book with a smirk or a chuckle just waiting to come out. That is a credit to A Lee Martinez; straddling the line between likable and dastardly can be tricky.
Perhaps much of my enjoyment from this book is delivered by Scott Aiello and his masterful performance. His range of voices is rather large and none of them sounded forced or out of place. And he absolutely nailed Mollusk. I felt I could actually hear the facial expressions through his performance - which is kind of ironic given the character himself states that his species' features are notoriously difficult to read.
The story itself was good, well told, and enjoyable. It wasn't particularly original, though, so I took some points off. I thought it was interesting that, despite the fact the story takes place on Earth (known as Terra in this book), there was almost a complete lack of human characters in it. There were Neptunians, Venusians, giant robots of all sizes, pterodactyls with lazer-vision, and a rather adorable cybernetically enhanced, giant killer-centipede and all of them were well-crafted by the author. So, while I do feel like this was a rather simplistic adventure, hopping from one sinister death trap to the next, I think that is exactly what the author intended it to be. It is what it is, and the author embraced every bit of it.
This was a funny, enjoyable, worthwhile listen and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Sci-fi.
Cranky old man Lived in 5 countries
The narrator was FANTASTIC. His tone, accents, use of voices, etc. made the experience
The attitude of the bored super-genius villain was a nice change of pace.
This is the first of his I have heard but I will put him on top of my list.
LOVED the narrator.
I normally like Martinez a lot. I just was really underwhelmed with this book. The characters where contrived, Mollusk was way overdone, and just... The story never grabbed me. I really tried. Not good and a disappointing listen.
Listening to Scott Aiello was such a treat. He brought so much fun and comedy to this novel just by how he read it. He was absolutely brilliant in his delivery!
This story is cute and somewhat interesting but the star of the show is the narration. Scott Aiello more than makes up for the weaknesses of the storyline and I highly recommend listening to it just to hear his interpretation of the characters. He had me laughing out loud.
"Emperor Mollusk" is a typical A. Lee Martinez lighthearted comedy performed brilliantly. I understand this was Scott Aiello's rookie outing on Audible. And he made the book for me-- and I'm a tough critic of faux British accents (as much as an American who grew up listening to Monty Python and lived in England can claim to be). He nailed it.