Review: 'Alligator Alley', by Mink Mole & Dr. Adder
Yes, there is still undiscovered Furry fiction out there. I ran across this now-twenty-three-year-old novel at the NASFiC in August 1999, and asked people about it there and at Aussiecon Three in Melbourne the next week. Nobody had ever heard of it, except for the dealer who was selling it, and Tim Powers who was accused of writing it.
By 2011, nobody in Furry fandom had still ever heard of it. It had gotten some notice in s-f fandom in 1989, though, as a totally psychedelic s-f novel. Locus said that the two pseudonymous authors were really the single Timothy MacNamara.
Illustrated by Ferret and Don Coyote with an introduction by John Shirley and a postscript by Richard Kadrey. Scotforth, Lancs., Morrigan Publications, June 1989, 295 [+ 5] pages, hardcover £13.95; ISBN: 1-870338-60-X.
There is also a 200-copy de luxe edition, specially bound in a slipcover and including: (1) a T-shirt with an original illustration by Ferret, and (2) a tape cassette of the "soundtrack music" performed by Boss Hoss/Circus Lupus, Michael Chocholak, Dr. Adder, Mink Mole, Ferret, & Don Coyote: £45.00; ISBN: 1-870338-65-0.
This is a British first edition but it seems like an American creation. John Shirley lives in Southern California; the setting is the U.S.; and the story is heavily influenced by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Shirley, in his Introduction, describes Alligator Alley as "a gonzo novel" by "the Hunter Thompson of the Science Fiction Underground." Mink Mole (the narrator) and Don Coyote are American Intelligence-bioengineered invulnerable killing anthro-animals who escape (or were they allowed to escape?) from their experimental lab and go on a profanity-heavy, psychedelic drug-filled, sadistic slaughter-spree across polluted, wasted America:
The dull crunching sound following the impact of my blow ensured nothing short of major liver damage to him and another broken wrist for me. Releasing the grip on his neck, I let him drop into the arms of his awestruck ring of pals below. My genetic retro-jets kicked in on their own accord, stimulated by the excitement I'd felt in nearly making a kill. With a burst of savage energy I jumped upward to an adjacent freeway overpass. The 16 foot gap took everything I had, so I was forced to abandon the bulk of my luggage.
"Sometimes I think there's more feline in me than anything else!" I laughed, as a barrage of gunfire ripped through my legs. 'Fuck it!' I thought, assessing the minor damage as I crouched behind the guardrail. The cops were scaling the wall below me, but it didn't matter. They hadn't a ghost of a chance to catching me.
"Must be on P.C.P!" one of them shouted.
"No --" answered another. "It's one of those weird things!"
On hearing this, I realized that Coyote hadn't been so slick as I'd thought, but there wasn't any time to consider the full implications of the statement. More sirens were fast approaching from all directions -- like sharks to a feeding frenzy -- and I'd other concerns on my mind. "Adios, amigos!" I did a smile-&-wave and pounced 16 feet to another concrete support -- laying dust to my tracks.
Half an hour later I found myself alone, albeit dashing madly about from shadow to shadow under the preposterously intense Floridian heat. Bleeding from gunshot wounds to my legs, I was limping badly, not so much from physical damage as due to the heel on one of my boots having been shorn off. My wounds, on the other hand, were already beginning to mend. With the help of the Compensating Lobe; a mysterious subconscious feature which all High Grade genetics appear to have inherited out of our common genetic penetrance-&-origins, I'd be able to heal easily enough while keeping on the move.
Staggering into a small cafe -- a trendy, franchised affair called Miffs or Zhits -- I made my way past the tables of blue-grey snowbirds who mindlessly engorged their burgers-&-fries and found a seat at the counter. Within minutes, I was munching away at a bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakes doused in peach brandy. Just the simple act of sitting down and relaxing allowed my body to begin healing at a more accelerated rate. "This is great!" I slavered, feeling the torn flesh-&-muscle bonding itself together and starting on a third bowl -- this time going for Sugar Pops.
I've always maintained that a red cowboy hat perched over a black leather hood, is but the first in a long line of dead giveaways pointing up the immediate differences between myself and the average joe on the street. Coyote has perhaps the worst problem, being dog-faced and all.
Picking up my cereal bowl, I retrieved my videocamera from the counter as the murmuring clique of assembled patrons looked on. Then, without paying, I sauntered past the grey-haired, open-mouthed staff and through the plate glass windows facing into a mini-mall.
"Christ! Missed the door!" I barked in surprise. "Damned geriatrics have got me all messed up!" The window had been attached to the storefront display of an adjacent shop. That one in turn was attached to another and so on. I'd so much fun going through the first, that I took out six more -- the videocamera recording each crash. "Write it off to entertainment," I told myself, staring down at the cereal bowl." (condensed from pgs. 121-125)
Later Mink Mole and Don Coyote encounter more of their escaped lab-brethren: Ratty, Raccoon Boy, Kiki ("the strange lupus beauty of the Northwest"), and indeterminate others like Flak:
Flak who'd been gone so long that I could almost begin to forget his golden eyes and dark, troubled features, his 'compassionate' powerful 'hands,' and the garrote he'd used to deliver death to genetics out of some warped pity. 'Mercy.' That's what he'd called it. Flak had been the most religious of the Community -- somehow Zen anyway you looked at it. [...] Flak. A killing machine with a belief. A belief so basic that it actually made sense. He believed that the worst part -- the evil part of the High Grades -- lay not in their own animal origins; not in his own badger, flying squirrel-&-wolf blend -- but rather in the part of us derived from mankind. He'd been obsessed by this. And had vowed to kill all the High Grades to 'save' them from the human portion of themselves. (pgs. 186 & 187)
It doesn't make much sense but it is definitely Furry and definitely Sick. And strangely, the more surrealistic and sicker it gets, the more sense it begins to make...