Infinite Matrix, December 15, 2003

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"Script-Doctoring the Apocalypse" by Chris Nakashima-Brown

Image"Script-Doctoring the Apocalypse" by Chris Nakashima-Brown starts slowly, submerging the reader gradually into a neighborhood that could be a couple blocks down from any suburban park or apartment complex. Nakashima-Brown's language is rich and evocative, bringing the details of scenery and mood to life with an artist's luxuriant palette–a fitting tone to initiate the reader into the world of creative genius Endora (a.k.a. Phyllis Krulak), an eclectic, eccentric fantasy artist, a "female Frazetta."

The story shades from vibrant oil paint to surreal airbrush as we follow the central character, Friedman–agent and middleman–on a flashback scene to a science fiction convention.  Friedman is commandeered into a consultation with a militaristic faction laboring under the conviction that pop-fantasy icons are vital adversaries against the "War on Terror." Frodo-as-suicide-bomber and Gandalf-as-Osama-bin-Laden punctuate their attitude, plunging the reader from Sunday afternoon promenade through a fantasy artist's neighborhood to tongue-in-cheek political commentary.  They propose a commission Friedman really can't refuse and send him off to Endora's studio.

Nakashima-Brown's prose is effortless.  He pulls off fanciful imagery and dry humor with a distinctive flair.  And between the sidewise smirks, there's enough oblique political digging in "Script-Doctoring the Apocalypse" to make Jon Stewart proud.  Images of heads of state captured on canvas and metamorphosed into Vallejo-esque fantasies–complete with anthropomorphic beastmen–vie with superimposed pop icons over classic painting for the biggest grins.  A personal favorite: a painter's depiction of Batman and Robin locked in an intimate kiss.  (We all knew Robin was Bruce Wayne's catamite, though, didn't we?)

"Script-Doctoring the Apocalypse" was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Definitely recommended.