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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

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.