Myth-ion Improbable

December 9, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads)

improbableMyth-ion Improbable by Robert Asprin


The One About the Old West

Going into my re-read of this series, I knew this one was out of order, chronologically. I knew reading it after Sweet Myth-tery of Life was the proper order for when the novels were published, but I waffled over which way to read it. In the end, I saw that it was listed as book eleven in most listings of the books, and decided to read it in that order. I think it was the right choice, but I think this book would have been terrible either way.

To be fair, Asprin returned to the series six years after writing the last book, and chose to go back and write an easier story before tackling what he saw as the end to get back in practice. He writes about this in his foreword, and explains that this story takes place between Myth Directions and Hit or Myth. Skeeve is still Aahz’s apprentice, and the crew is much smaller; in fact, the book focuses on Skeeve, Aahz, and Tananda as they go on a multidimensional treasure hunt. A good chunk of the book is dedicated to how they follow the map, and then it picks up in a dimension that’s much like the Old West. What sets is apart, though, is the vampire cows.

Yes, you read that correctly: Vampire Cows.

It’s a dumb premise, made worse by flat characterization. I complained about how the female characters were portrayed in Sweet Myth-tery of Life, but it’s a lot better than how Tananda is represented here. She doesn’t do much, save act as a hugger, and Skeeve and Aahz are a bit off, too. I get that Asprin might have been rusty, but he had been writing these characters for over twenty years before abandoning them for seven. Can he really have lost that much of the magic in that time?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes. Seeing as it occurs so late in the series, and is an earlier adventure that doesn’t affect the canon of the other stories, it would be safe to skip it. I’m just hoping that Something M.Y.T.H. Inc. is better.


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