DooM - Knee Deep in the Dead

posted January 31, 2008 by Q

QSo for Christmas, I asked for the DooM paperback novels. Being the hard core DooM fan that I am, I had always meant to read them, but never got around to it. Finally, I got book one for the holidays.

I knew it was going to be just stupid, mindless light reading and I was prepared not to take it too seriously. However, there were still some fundamental problems with the book.

So let's begin!

Corporal Fly Taggert is our hero, and after he punches the crap out of his commanding officer, he is de-ranked and shipped off to Mars. They receive a radio call for help and Fly hauls ass to help the rest of his buddies and his BFF, Arlene Sanders, whom he loves, unrequited.

So, Fly encounters monster of Hell, the ones we all know and love from the classic DooM video game, so I don't really need to go too deep into describing things.

Fly spends at least 100 pages fighting demons and looking for his beloved Arlene, which I was hoping was going to be a mindless MacGuffin, but I wasn't so lucky.

When we finally meet Arlene, she's nude, sexy, and not really worse for ware. In fact, she is able to out-maneuver, out-shoot, out-think, and out-quip Fly. She even has better than perfect eyesight. Fly often comments that she's "A better man than I", simply for being able to do things like not flinch while having her wounds cleaned and given a hypodermic shot. Oh yeah, and she can get clawed open in the chest and keep fighting. A total Mary-Sue who's an un-endearing Ripley wanna-be.

Something that truly bugged me, as you all probably know, were the choice of words used at times. The none-too-bright Marine knew such words like: Stymied, dithered, enervated, nomenclature, ersatz and my personal favorite, mulligatawny.

In fact, I will give you the context.

" Zombies and demons alike had been torn to shreds and strips of gray flesh, their parts mingling in a hellish mulligatawny."

Mulligatawny, by the way, is an Indian soup. Why couldn't he just say "Soup" or "Stew"? I mean, if I'm sloshing along in a marsh, with sticky threads of grass clinging to my legs, I am not going to say "I waded through the soggy moo shu." I really won't.

By the way, Fly knows all these wonderful, uncommon words, but he had no idea who H.P. Lovecraft is, or what Soylent Green is. (It's people.)

Moving on.

There was a scene that made me bang my head against the book. Four Hell Princes (Barons of Hell in the games) were crucified. That's all well and good, the only problem is that they were crucified by Cacodemons. HOW?!

Remember Cacodemons? The flying balls with no limbs at all? How in the hell were they able to crucify Barons of Hell?! You tell me!

Face it, DooM is not the zenith of good storytelling. I don't think anyone would disagree with me. But it's gory, mindless fun and the pointless drivel not-withstanding, I enjoyed reading the book. No, I didn't enjoy the book, I enjoyed ranting about it, I enjoyed being able to slam my head against it. I enjoyed not enjoying the book. Some of the book was utter hell, and that's what DooM is supposed to be.

And it's still better than the movie.

Rating: 3.5 whiskey