Sharc by Paul Rudd
Genre: Fiction, horror, sharks, thriller, why do fictional governments keep allowing billionaires to build unsafe underwater aquariums and dinosaur filled islands?
Rating: 2.67 out of 5 stars
Summary: Maxwell Baxter has a lot of money, so he builds an aquarium/resort/research center named the ARC to house the long thought extinct shark Carcharodon Megalodon with some help from the American government, Arnold Schwarzenegger, some scientists, and the BBC. Everything is going swimmingly until the prehistoric behemoth escapes and begins to eat people. And whales. So many whales. Will our 8,000 heroes be able to stop it!?! Probably. There’s really not that much to worry about.
DID EVERYONE ENJOY THEIR MOTHERSHARKING SHARK WEEK!?!
Last year to commemorate the best television watching week of the year I reviewed Peter Benchley’s Jaws and compared it to the film version from Steven Spielberg. And while the shark didn’t follow anyone to the Bahamas to roar at them it just didn’t live up to the film version, probably because everyone was too busy being terrible people and not enough time getting eaten alive.
So this year I decided to switch things up and read a non-Jaws centered novel and I did it in the easiest way possible, by seeing what I could borrow for free on my Kindle. Enter Sharc, a cautionary tale about why not to take presumed extinct giant sharks and try to lock them in confined spaces. AKA why we shouldn’t keep letting billionaires play with science. HASN’T JEFF GOLDBLUM SUFFERED ENOUGH!?!
NOTE: I don’t know much about Paul Rudd the $0.99 book Kindle author besides his inability to spell the word “shark” so for the length of this review I’m going to assume it was written by Paul Rudd the actor.
The novel opens with accounts over the years of various sea monster sightings as well as evidence that yes, previously extinct species have been discovered (see the coelacanthe) so if course it’s entirely plausible that the prehistoric Carcharodon Megalodon could be roaming the ocean. Or you know, those dudes that reported these things could have just been super drunk. Don’t pretend no one gets drunk on the ocean. I’ve seen it happen.
Paul Rudd then introduces his audience to a billion characters we have to keep track of, some of whom only have a POV for two or three pages because he may not be Paul Rudd after all but George R. R. Martin trying to write the shark epic he always dreamed of. You know, instead of finishing up A Song of Ice and Fire like he should be doing. Work on The Winds of Winter, your prequel Westeros novel A Feast For Sharks can wait.
Thankfully we don’t have to wait long for the Megalodon to show up, but don’t expect him to start eating people right away. First Paul Rudd needs to teach you all about the ARC (Aquatic Research Facility) which is built by insane billionaire Maxwell Baxter. Read: an even more crazy/manic version of John Hammond, who instead of two precocious grandchildren has an actor/singer teenage son who also has connections with shark hunting members of the military. Who happen to also have access to tons and tons of chum. Because that’s what this book is all about.
In addition to housing a crazed 45-foot shark, the ARC also serves as a giant floating hotel and resort since it’s a great idea to have vacationers stuck on a man-made island in the middle of nowhere with a dangerous and very intelligent shark swimming around. Unfortunately they don’t try to use his obviously massive intelligence to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and he gets out and goes on a mass killing spree instead. Sometimes killing random characters only mentioned in passing, sometimes taking out main characters but mostly killing whales and destroying boats. Which according to the Discovery Channel’s fake documentary that opened Shark Week is 100% accurate.
Arnold Schwarzenegger also plays a prominent role, touring the facility for the Vice President who wants the go ahead to support the completion of the ARC. Which kind of works since the novel was set in 2010 but doesn’t work because he never once says “I’ll be back” or rescues anyone while yelling, “Come with me if you want to live!”
Which may be because that while the novel takes place in 2007 and 2010 I have a sneaking suspicion it’s set in an alternate history version of America. Mostly because the Megalodon didn’t go extinct, the Vice President is a sassy pants woman who I loved and humanity has never been to space. PAUL RUDD MENTIONS THAT HUMANITY HAS NEVER BEEN TO SPACE IN THIS BOOK FEATURING A GIANT MAN-EATING SHARK. And then that plot point was never brought up ever again. Really.
As if this wasn’t enough, in a scene stolen out of Jaws 3, the shark is drawn back to the ARC to wreak havoc on its civilians. Although not in 3-D. In my head it looks a little something like this. NOVEL GOLD!
Unfortunately while it’s an interesting premise it has the opposite problem of Jaws. Whereas in the original shark novel I wanted more shark and less people, in Sharc I found myself annoyed that we didn’t get enough of the main characters. I was especially invested in the love story between the ARC’s head scientist in command, Dr. Samuel Clifford and his awesome German assistant and oceanographer Claudia Metzer. Since the focus was spread so thin I was completely deprived of reading about what I imagine to be their amazing fan fiction type romance. Nor do I ever get to find out what becomes of Claudia. WHAT HAPPENED TO CLAUDIA PAUL RUDD!?! WHAT HAPPENED!?!
Instead I had to read about one-off characters with terrible names like Daryl Moxy, Jason Mabius, Captain Steve Rogers (which I will let go if it was actually Captain America), Colonel Cain Starr-Jordan, Sterling McDonald and Claus Piccard.
And don’t even get me started on the 15 endings. Peter Jackson may have also helped Paul Rudd write this novel. There were a lot of shark-covered hands in this pot.
-Really loved the author in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
-Wasn’t the worst Kindle novel in the world
-Constantly smells like sex panther
-Not enough focus on the good characters who weren’t terrible
-GRRM talked way too much about characters who didn’t matter
-Peter Jackson could have limited the endings
Don’t worry Jaws lovers, I’ll be back next year to review a novelization of Jaws: the Revenge. Mostly because I want to see how a roaring shark translates from screenplay to film to novelization. Unless they make a novelization of Sharknado. Then I’m all over that like a shark leaping into a tornado.