On GONE WHALIN’, by Conor Lastowka
What would you do if you woke up on a 19th century whaling ship? Cormac McIlhenny decides to roll with it and see if he’s any good at harpooning whales. Turns out he is, which makes quite a change from his 21st century life of skipping classes, getting drunk, and playing guitar in a terrible band.
Gone Whalin’ is a wonderfully absurd time-travel fantasy, a hilarious campus satire, and a picaresque caper novel. When Cormac’s stoner roommate and the corrupt campus dean join forces to exploit his century-hopping abilities, all hell breaks loose on the home front. Meanwhile, Cormac’s got problems in his 19th century existence as well, aboard the world’s least efficient whaling vessel and at the mercy of its delusional captain. If only he had bothered to read Moby Dick instead of getting high…
This novel does an awful lot of things very well. It’s a farce full of fast-paced action, but there are some pretty sharp barbs aimed at academic politics, social media rubberneckers, sensational journalism, and a broad range of human foibles. The tempo stays quick, the plotting is always smart, and there are plenty of laughs aboard. Don’t miss it!