7.14.2010

The Descent by Jeff Long




The Descent has far more in common with Jaws than epic medieval poetry. The Descent indeed, is a marriage of Jaws and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Heaven, in effect, stands up Hell at the altar in this wickedly divine Descent not to the center of the earth, but to the very core of humankinds most archetypal, universal fear: the dark, and the demons who swim in it.

There's no great white sharks striking terror from the murky depths in The Descent; no, there's worse, much worse: there's great albino "hadals" disembowelling you alive from the cavernous depths. Once they've disembowelled you alive, they just might make a rope out of your intestines, using your innards to tie you to a stake, so that you, a) won't escape; and, b) can sample your flesh while it's still fresh, like you were human-sushi!

Are you scared? You should be. Because The Descent is so scary it will scare the Hell in to you, not out. Read The Descent and Jaws will seem a guppy by comparison. After all, a great white shark can only bite and eat you, but a great albino hadal can not only bite and eat you, but since they're amphibious and bipedal, they can slyly hide beneath the surface of what appears at first blush a tranquil, phosphorecently lit underworld ocean; but as you wade into that primeval, peaceful ocean ... up thrusts a wooden spear so fast and so fiercely and aimed so precisely it enters your anus unscathed before it impales the back end of your butt hole and punctures your abdominal cavity's wall ramming up past your kidneys and straight for your heart, so that you die instantly, standing up, having become a veritable homo sapien shishkebob, held in the hateful hands of one hungry hadal.

"Hadal" comes from the Latin, "homo hadalis," a team of scientists postulate, an evolutionary offshoot or hybrid of homo erectus and homo sapien. But all you need to know is that hadals come from Hell, the Hell waiting for you inside that cave, that mineshaft, or that archaeological dig. So obey those signs please ... and KEEP OUT!

That Legion of demons that tormented Regan and those two Jesuit priests in The Exorcist, would get their collective, possessive asses kicked by a single hadal.

Just ask the 150 members of the Helios scientific expedition sent to explore the theorized passage underneath the Pacific Ocean's floor that's hoped will connect the Galapagos Islands with New Guinea. Think of the logistic and power-opportunities available for the first-taking should such a passage be found. But what if the tyrannical head of Helios has ulterior motives for the expedition? Well, then maybe the mercenaries and the military and the scientists and the nun (yes! a nun) hired on board, and kept in line by a tyrant's son, Shoat, have a secret, underestimated defense weapon hidden up their sleeves themselves: A half-human/half-hadal evolutionary cross breed as their guide? Could it be? And what about Satan? What role does the Devil play in all of this? Don't tell me Satan is a sshhhh you be quiet, 'Frique! Don't spoil the surprise! But do insert the mad laughter here.

Will all, uh, Hell inevitably break loose in The Descent? Maybe not all of Hell, but maybe all of Hell-in-the-flesh: Homo hadalis!

Bats belong in caves, Intrepid Reader, not you. So stay out of them! You've been warned. And remember what Dante Alighieri said about Jeff Long's novel (and tremble): "Abandon all hope, ye who read The Descent."

6 comments:

Rebecca Glenn said...

Heaven stood hell up at the altar.

Sublime!

EnriqueFreeque said...

Oh you're way too kind! Thank you. Sometimes the one-liners start stacking up like dominoes. I fear I may have attempted too many and gone a tad over the top ultimately, but that book, good God, went WAY over the top (in a good way) so I followed suit (possibly in not as good of a way).

Fun fun read. Thanks again!

Rebecca Glenn said...

Was that really a promo postcard for The Descent? I love it.

EnriqueFreeque said...

It's genuine. I was looking for a great pic of a gargoyle or demon to to insert in the body, and stumbled upon Jeff Long's website.

Did you know there was a movie made of The Descent?

Rebecca Glenn said...

A movie? Now, you know the one that came out a couple of years ago just shares the name, but isn't related to or based upon the book. Is there another? If there is, I'm not sure I want to see it, as I don't know how it could possibly do justice...

EnriqueFreeque said...

You're right. I misread the film option comment on Long's blog and assumed that the Descent you mention was his Descent.