31 Jul

Trouble in Bugland is a 152 page gem of a book. I purchased this one used, but in very good condition considering. This 2nd soft-cover (which is the 2nd edition, 2nd (1996) printing) was listed by the publisher as Out-of-Stock, but I found a used copy available through the usual suspects. The only thing that gives it away as a previously owned book is the inscription on the inside cover, from Susan to Jenna 1/97. Personally, I like buying used books. I like adding them to my library shelves, imagining that they are happy to be home, mingling about with my other friends.

Before I started reading, I skimmed through Joe Servello’s spectacular color plates and pen-and-ink drawings, taking care not to allow any spoilers to invade my sight. Every page features detailed drawings that bring Kotzwinkle’s words to life in the period detail depicted in this Victorian era setting (some of Servello’s published credits are The Return of Crazy Horse; and Fata Morgana, both books written by Kotzwinkle).          

I read this hilarious Holmesian pastiche last year, and immediately found myself within the imaginary boundaries of Bugland. The characters are all arthropods, mostly insects. But the writing is so perfect in it’s narration that you soon forget these characters are not human. Inspector Mantis, as the name implies, is a Praying Mantis and the Sherlock Holmes extraordinaire of Bugland.

In the tales within the pages of this little book (every chapter is a separate stand-alone story but for one thing: there is a cohesive thread that connects them), Inspector Mantis thwarts a series of fiendishly evil antagonists, all invertebrate animals, in their attempts to cause mayhem. A joy of a read. Cleverly put together.

 YA Speculative Fiction/Mystery

1983 – David R. Godine, Publisher

soft cover 1996

152 pages


3 Responses to “TROUBLE IN BUGLAND”

  1. Ilbi July 31, 2012 at 8:59 p07 #

    The inscription on the inside cover reminded me of the feeling I get when I peak into windows and open doors of homes I walk by every once in a while. Especially in the older parts of town. They are aswirl with spicy indian scents. They ( indians, punjabi mostly, but bengali as well, have pretty much rented many areas of the centro storico. I enjoy the variety…it’s refreshing! Ah, how many lives…how many stories to tell…….


  1. FATA MORGANA « WORDMAN - August 10, 2012

    […] Inspector Mantis? Trouble in Bugland? Well, here is another out-of-the-ordinary book I’d like to share. In Fata Morgana, Kotzwinkle […]

  2. PERCOLATIONS « WORDMAN - August 18, 2012

    […] Dr. Rat is a fictional documentation of the abuses in the scientific experiments on animals, and won the World Fantasy Award for Best novel in 1977. I’m really not quite sure why I even wanted this book other than the fact that Kotzwinkle is one strange dude, and I happen to like the way he strings his words together. I lay testament to that, having soared through, and thoroughly enjoyed, Fata Morgana, and Trouble in Bugland. […]

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