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Ocean of Absurdities [The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers]

July 11, 2016

DSC00698(Or rather, Die 13 1/2 Leben des Käpt’n Blaubär, because of course I read it in German.)

I can’t decide if I like Moers right now, or not.

On the one hand, his books are a lot of fun. Kind of over-the-top, admittedly, which I don’t usually like. That was what put me off Terry Pratchett, so if I can read Moers, maybe I should give Pratchett another try.

But there are a lot of things in the book that are so delightfully absurd. Like a desert made out of sugar (instead of a salt pan). Or calling a character Deus X. Machina. Or Quert Zuiopü (Qwerty Uiop in the English translation, because of the differences between the keyboards.) Intelligence bacteria. Congladiators who duel with lies. And a hundred more crazy things.


And the illustrations are delightful too. And the way he plays with different fonts.

And the way Captain Bluebear’s lives are all so different, with seemingly little connections between them – and then at the end, when you’re already thinking that’s all you’re going to get, a list of largely unconnected lives, it all gets pulled back together.



With this huge cast of characters, who range from minipirates to mile-high headless cyclops to pterodactyls to people with seven brains to Mountain Maggots to invisible people to thinking quicksand –

In this whole collection of wonderfully crazy characters, you couldn’t fit in more than two female characters? Really, Mr Moers? And of the two, one exists pretty much only for “ew, an ugly girl has a crush on me”, and the other just for the happy ending.

The book is still funny, and I’d still recommend it, I guess, but Moers has lost a huge part of my respect for him with that. (Especially since it’s not the only of his books where I’ve noticed a lack of female characters.)

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