Picks and Pans Review: The Book of Sequels
updated 02/25/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/25/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
For those who think bygones should stay bygone and are already on part 97 of their continuing vendettas against sequels, this book is a sign of hope.
Written by four National Lampoon refugees, it is a collection of parody prose and artwork purportedly growing from a failure to understand how "sons-of, Part IIs, updates, returns-of, revenges-of, and their ilk ever fell into disrepute in the first place."
Its least entertaining sections suggest defiance of the maxim linking brevity, soulful-ness and wit. There is, for instance, a grueling 31-page combination send-up of Moby-Dick and Clive Cussler's Raise the Titanic, titled Moby-Dick II: Raise the Pequod!
But there are many joys, such as an ad for a theme park based on T.S. Eliot's poem The Wasteland and excerpts from sequels to Joyce Kilmer's Trees, such as "I think that I shall never glance/ At poems lovelier than plants" and I'd have to be a whole lot hepper/ To make a poem like a pepper."
A sample of the Existendo video games catalog shows a screen from the "Myth of Sisyphus Game." with a scoreboard that says "Rock: 2,406; You: 0."
An ad for a boxed set of sequels to Dostoyevski's novel The Idiot includes such titles as The Idiot X: The Dumb Bunny. A promotion for the Orwellian sequel Vegetable Farm raises the questions, "Are we ourselves the apathetic romaine, the dispassionate kohlrabi, the stupefied potatoes unmindful of the threat of a newly malevolent tuber? Or is everything just going to be okay?"
Now the only thing to guard against is this book turning into a hit and its authors succumbing to temptation. If The Book of Sequels II appears, all praise contained herein will be retroactively retracted. (Random House, paper, $16.95)