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Jay Omega #1

Bimbos of the Death Sun

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For one fateful weekend, the annual science fiction and fantasy convention, Rubicon, has all but taken over a usually ordinary hotel. Now the halls are alive with Trekkies, tech nerds, and fantasy gamers in their Viking finery *all of them eager to hail their hero, bestselling fantasy author Appin Dungannon: a diminutive despot whose towering ego more than compensates for his 5' 1" height . . . and whose gleeful disdain for his fawning fans is legendary.

Hurling insults and furniture with equal abandon, the terrible, tiny author proceeds to alienate ersatz aliens and make-believe warriors at warp speed. But somewhere between the costume contest and the exhibition Dungeons & Dragons game, Dungannon gets done in. While die-hard fans of Dungannon's seemingly endless sword-and-sorcery series wonder how they'll go on and hucksters wonder how much they can get for the dead man's autograph, a hapless cop wonders, Who would want to kill Appin Dungannon? But the real question, as the harried convention organizers know, is Who wouldn't ?

"I loved BIMBOS OF THE DEATH SUN . . . Beautifully observed, funny, nicely constructed, even compassionate." *Robert Silverberg From the Paperback edition.

212 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1987

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About the author

Sharyn McCrumb

126 books1,024 followers

    Sharyn McCrumb, an award-winning Southern writer, is best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, including the New York Times best sellers The Ballad of Tom Dooley, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, and The Songcatcher. Ghost Riders, which won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature from the East Tennessee Historical Society and the national Audie Award for Best Recorded Books. The Unquiet Grave, a well-researched novel about West Virginia's Greenbrier Ghost, will be published in September by Atria, a division of Simon &Schuster.        
       Sharyn McCrumb, named a Virginia Woman of History by the Library of Virginia and a Woman of the Arts by the national Daughters of the American Revolution,  was awarded the Mary Hobson Prize for Arts & Letters in 2014. Her books have been named New York Times and Los Angeles Times Notable Books. In addition to presenting programs at universities, libraries, and other organizations throughout the US, Sharyn McCrumb has taught a writers workshop in Paris, and served as writer-in-residence at King University in Tennessee, and at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 354 reviews
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,849 followers
January 19, 2016
Originally posted 2009 updated 2016

"These" (Jay Omega 1 &2) are presented as satire or spoof. I do realize that, I didn't miss it...really. Even though I enjoy fantasy and science fiction I do possess at least a modicum of intelligence, you know just enough for basic reasoning. So as mentioned I did get that the books are meant to be a burlesque. I am however disappointed in this/them. If you like them happily it's a free country. The writer is however (at least in my humble opinion) capable of better, much better.

There is some humor here and a (sort of) murder mystery. There are also a truck load of caricatures and stereotypes, cruel ones at that. In what I assume is an attempt at parody we go to a science Fiction convention where we are all assured that "we" (the readers of the mystery genre I suppose) are far superior to these pathetic examples of humanity...fairly jarring if you happen to enjoy science fiction yourself.

I hope that McCrumb wasn't trying for the insulting and condescending tone that seems to permeate this book. I'm not sure why it's "okay" to look down on those who enjoy imaginative pass times. It seems that along with those who are over weight and a few other groups science fiction/fantasy fans are fair game for the kind of humor that if aimed at most any other group would not be tolerated. Also it seems that (at least if this book is to be believed) most of these poor benighted people are also over weight and socially inept (possibly even "unwashed" and "smelly"). We are also treated to the picture of over weight and desperate women who will "settle" for the pimply unwashed denizens of science fiction fandom. It seems that publishers, editors, film makers, and fan paraphernalia manufactures are happy to make money off these people but still feel free to look down on them.

This is one of 2 books by McCrumb that are apparently an attempt to "poke fun" at science fiction fandom. (The other is Zombies of the Gene Pool. They are "Jay Omega 1 and 2.)While I find her understanding of those fans weak in both books this is by far the most...insensitive. This book's attitude was also a little surprising to me in another way, as I grew up in Eastern Tennessee and I've read a few of her other books where she does a fair job of showing Appalachian mountain culture and folklore at least somewhat accurately. While I wouldn't say I was a fan of her other work (I suspect that they might appeal more to readers who like heavier romance elements) I hadn't found them too bad. I looked these 2 up after learning of their existence, and was disappointed.

The humor that is here is of a lower negative type and the "mystery" is basic and not really the "star" of the show. If you already look down (at least somewhat) on those who enjoy science fiction (and especially those that may attend "fan conventions") then this might be a book you want to read. I have in my somewhat eclectic reading life read from many different literary genres, that includes a great many science fiction and fantasy volumes. I frankly fail to see how mystery novels are all that superior.

By the way, no I'm not missing that these are meant to be humorous. I just don't find the humor all that funny and I do find it...questionable.

In other words, this book falls short on so many levels "for me". I was really disappointed with it and can not recommend it.
Profile Image for Martin.
327 reviews143 followers
October 31, 2019
Science Fiction conventions attract weird characters, people who try to stand out from the crowd of other strange characters, but do they need to attract murderers?


The guest of honor author
The elevator doors sealed out a chorus of “Shhhhs” from the surrounding fen. That sentiment, seldom so untactfully voiced, was one of the great common experiences in fandom: the shock of discovering that the chronicles of the golden Viking warrior Tratyn Runewind were written by a malevolent elf with a drinking problem. Part of fen lore, to be imparted to promising newcomers, was the lecture on How to Deal with Appin Dungannon. He was susceptible to flattery; willing to autograph books (even second-hand copies—signature only); but he would not discuss future Runewind books, and if questioned about details on the old ones, he was likely to know less about the book than the fan did. He had probably not read it as often. The one cardinal rule of Dungannontry was: never, never approach the author while wearing a Tratyn Runewind costume. He had once hurled an entire stack of hardbacks and a water carafe at a Runewind imposter. Still, he was internationally famous, and his appearance at a con was a guarantee of good attendance, so con organizers suffered him gladly; besides, his atrocities made good anecdotes to recount at later cons.


Every author wants recognition - don't they?
“I know you!” cried a ferrety-looking youth in a green turtleneck. “You wrote Bimbos of the Death Sun!”
Dr. Omega hung his head. “Yes,” he sighed.
There it was: his pride, his fictionalized exercise in pure reason concerning the effects of sunspot activity in relation to polymer acrylic on capacitive interaction among high-frequency microcomponents in thick film circuits. He had known that when Alien Books bought it, there would have to be some commercialization, but he hadn’t bargained on being heralded as the author of something called Bimbos of the Death Sun. And the cover art! A female bodybuilder in a fur bikini sprawled in front of a computer terminal, clutching the leg of a white-coated man holding a clipboard.
Dr. Omega lived in fear that some undergraduate student in engineering would figure out who he was and bruit the news around campus. As it was, he checked all the book stores in town once a week to make sure that no copies had been slipped onto the local author rack. His pen name, which he’d been so pleased with at the time, now seemed entirely too obvious.


The police detective needs to be tutored in Sci fi fan behavior and the fans need help in recognizing the murderer


Profile Image for Shane.
1,263 reviews16 followers
June 18, 2008
I had heard that this was pretty funny and I think I have the actual book laying around here somewhere. It's set at a Con and I've been to many sci-fi/fantasy conventions, (though it's been a while since I had the entire experience of staying overnight) So I thought I would enjoy it a lot. Unfortunately it was terrible and the only reason I finished it was because it was short (5 cds) and it let me vicariously live at a Con for a week or so.

The story was REALLY dated and every time the narrator said, "Put the disk in the IBM-PC" I flinched. Basically she seemed to enjoy educating the reader on "new" computer technology, including a precursor to e-mail and to fandom in general. Everything was written like it was a big surprise and she was sure you had never heard of anything like it before. Considering the main audience for the book was probably fans, it doesn't seem to make sense. This seemed more like a book written about fandom from an outsider's perspective and even the main character was an author who knew nothing about fandom (and then was able to be a Dungeon Master without knowing the rules until a couple hours before the game).

Other than the "hey I know exactly the kind of person they're talking about" there's not much thrill to it. The mystery seemed rather amateurish and the characterizations of the fans were never positive. Really Con people (or fans) are the only group of people that I've been around who didn't disappoint me once I got to know them.

Author 25 books29 followers
March 12, 2010
Great idea, awful book.
A murder mystery set at a science fiction convention. Brilliant!
Unfortunately, McCrumb spends so much time letting us know what sad, pathetic geeks sci-fi fans are, and how her ( or her stand in, a woman who spends the whole book in a Mrs. Peel catsuit) is so much cooler than that and has her life together etc, etc that she doesn't have any energy to make sure the mystery is actually good or makes sense.
It feels tacked on and almost an after thought to her dumping on anybody that attends sci-fi conventions.

After reading this I couldn't help but wonder if she either got picked on in high school for reading 'Lord of the rings' or just that the only research she did was to spend ten minutes in the hotel lobby where a convention was being held.

Shame as this could have been a very fun and funny setting for a mystery novel.
Waste of a good title too.
Profile Image for Trin.
1,844 reviews567 followers
July 30, 2007
{I'm going to discuss both this book, and its sequel, Zombies of the Gene Pool, in one review. Fair warning. *g*}

Two fandom-set mysteries. The first takes place at a con, and with its wacky con shenanigans is generally more fun than the second, which involves a small fan reunion in Tennessee. Neither one of the mysteries is particularly mysterious (which is odd because McCrumb is nominally a mystery writer), but the books are generally amusing, quick reads. Enjoyable—if you don't think about them. Think about them at all, and you start to realize that McCrumb is really rather contemptuous toward fans and fandom. According to her, everyone involved in sci-fi/fantasy fandom is a socially-incompetent loser who will never amount to much, has poor personal hygiene, and is probably a virgin. Even if you become a successful genre author, you will never garner respect or attain happiness. Fannishness is, apparently, something you are supposed to grow out of when you finally lose that extra weight and find a boy/girlfriend. McCrumb's attitude certainly makes me wonder who she thinks she's writing these books for. It isn't for genre fans.

The sequel isn't actually any more bitter and nasty than the original, in spite of what I'd heard; however, both books contain the same kind of sloppiness. The main character is an engineer named Dr. James Owens Mega; the pen name under which he writes is Jay Omega. He's referred to interchangeably in both books (in the 3rd person omniscient narration, no less) as James, Mega, Jay, Jay Omega, and even Dr. Jay Omega—in other words, his nom de plume with his real world title. That kind of thing drives me nuts. There's also an instance of McCrumb stating that Character A doesn't know Character B's name at the top of a page, and then at the bottom of that same page, A casually calling B by her name. Oh, and another character thinking of a death as a murder and then a few pages later having to be convinced that it was indeed a murder and not accidental death. You know what is needed, here? A GOOD BETA.

So, I found these books both enjoyable and incredibly infuriating. I honestly can't make a recommendation about whether I think other people should read them or not.
Profile Image for Craig.
5,142 reviews122 followers
July 6, 2020
This is a mystery novel set within the framework of science fiction fandom, and is one of the best such of this recursive niche of a subgenre that first took off with Anthony Boucher's Rocket to the Morgue way back in 1942. This one is set at a science fiction convention and involves the murder of a famous author who may be modeled on the public persona of Harlan Ellison. The mystery aspect is always secondary to the study of the event. It's an interesting look at the community, presented with a balanced dose of criticism and fondness. The field has changed quite a lot since the book appeared; fandom is no longer regarded as being wholly nerdy and is now celebrated as popular culture. The field is also much more divided and divisive than it was, but Bimbos of the Death Sun presents a good look at the roots from which the current mega-fandom sprung, as well as the place to which those early First Fandom days that Boucher celebrated led. It's a fun and funny book, one that lampoons without meanness, and the mystery isn't too shabby, either.
Profile Image for David.
Author 18 books349 followers
April 21, 2010
This is a murder mystery that takes place at a sci-fi con, but it's really a skewering of fan culture, as sharp and hilarious and spot-on as William Shatner's famous "Get a life!" SNL skit. If you've never been to a con and haven't met the sort of characters who populate this novel, you'll probably find it silly and possibly unbelievable, but if you have been to cons, then you'll recognize these people. This is a rather old book, but things haven't really changed much in the past twenty-odd years.
Profile Image for Lynn.
1,608 reviews47 followers
April 22, 2018
Read in spare moments on my phone, this was a fun little book. A murder at a SF/F convention populated with role-playing characters, you'd expect this to be entertaining, but I think it was a bit mean really. I did get something out of it....I think I understand how D&D works now.
Profile Image for Tanya Spackman.
Author 6 books11 followers
July 1, 2011
I have very mixed feelings about the book. I can't decide whether I like it or hate it. It's a clever premise. It is a murder mystery set at a science fiction convention. The title of the book (and it's a great title) is also the title of a book written by a minor author invited to the con; he is our protagonist. However, the author's agent/editor/girlfriend seems to be voice of this book's author, Sharon Mccrumb. And she's annoying.

And this is where my mixed feelings mostly come in. She seems to have a very cliche view of con-goers, incredibly judgmental about what losers they all are. The geeks are all superficially characterized. At the same time, I had to admit I'd met con-goers like those portrayed. Thus I was constantly bouncing back and forth between offense and laughter.

As for the tale itself, I liked the premise. It was a fairly interesting read (I don't normally read murder mysteries), and they way the killer was brought to light at the end (through a Dungeons and Dragons game) was a great idea. Unfortunately, the events at the very end of the game when the murderer is revealed led me to roll my eyes. I didn't buy it. I think that the suspension of disbelief was lost because of the weak characterization. We as readers had not been given a deep enough understanding of the murderer - or any of the characters, for that matter - to accept what was then told us about what he did and his motivation.

So... mixed feelings. Clever premise, fairly good read, but weak characterization, which damages the entire story.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for David Monroe.
433 reviews142 followers
July 25, 2013
This book is a lot of fun. A Facebook friend just reminded me about it and I'm really glad she did. This has a special place in my heart. On our second date, the woman who would become my wife (also, eventually, my ex) gave me her copy of BotDS to read. After I read it, I knew our sensibilities and interests were in synch. It was a lot harder in the pre-high speed internet days, to ferret out fellow Geeks.

BotDS is a really fun, charming and witty "Whodunit" by Sharyn McCrumb. It combines a serious murder mystery with the scariest world of all -- fandom.

James Owen Mega is just an ordinary guy, a professor of electrical engineering at Virginia Tech. What very few people realize is that he is also Jay Omega, one-time SF author -- and that's exactly how Jay wants it. His novel was a serious, hard SF story, but by the time the second-rate publishing house got through with it, it was saddled with a Frank Frazetta-esque cover and the title Bimbos of the Death Sun. Though he attempts to bury his shame, his girlfriend books him as a guest at Rubicon, a local SF convention. There, they meet the troublesome Appin Dungannon, author of a Conan-like series of novels and owner of an incredibly short fuse and colossal ego. Some time between the costume contest and the celebrity D&D game, however, Dungannon is murdered, and Jay and his girlfriend, Marion, do a little investigating of their own.
Profile Image for Kayt O'Bibliophile.
732 reviews22 followers
June 12, 2019
80's sci-fi/fantasy con murder mystery.

Yes, you read that right. But the awesomeness of this book isn't from the murder--that doesn't even occur until halfway through. Instead, it's the look at the state of fandom in the 1980s.

The story follows engineering professor and sci-fi author Jay Omega, author of the well-written but unfortunately-titled "Bimbos of the Death Sun." If you're in any sort of "fandom" now, you'll recognize with glee a lot of the things that Omega is seeing for the first time: "fandom," cosplaying, BNFs ("Big Name Fans") the general reputation of con-goers as unwashed geeks...

And then there's the stuff that's changed. Before the internet, there were 'zines. Lots of 'zines. And don't forget the advanced floppy disks that you can see in the computer room!

Anyone with experience in fandom will love this. It's a light read and quite humorous...and if you haven't been to a convention before, this is still a good guide.

Just something to keep it mind: it is set in, and was written in, the 1980s. It's not a modern take on old-school fandom. It's still wonderful, but I wouldn't want you to have the wrong idea.
Profile Image for Terri.
378 reviews28 followers
September 5, 2012
I have read this novel a few times, and I just reread it this week. It's interesting to me how my perspective on this book has changed over time. When I first read it, I was well entrenched in science fiction culture, and mostly amused by the idea of some outsider stumbling onto a murder mystery at a SF con. Now, as someone who has moved past the con scene, I find myself more sympathetic to the heroine, Marion and her position.

McCrumb got a lot of fannish outrage when she wrote these books and my current edition includes a forward by her talking about the fact that they were meant as both a loving send-up and a warning to fandom. I think they succeed on both counts.

The mystery in the first one is far less interesting than the setting, IMO. I'd only recommend this book to people who have been part of SF culture. Also, just to be clear, it was written in 1987, so there is quite a lot that is dated now.
Profile Image for Violinknitter.
503 reviews16 followers
April 9, 2018
Okay, this deserves an explanation. The Incomparable podcast did an episode on Harlan Ellison. So, of course, I don’t go & read Harlan Ellison stories. Instead, I pick up this other book they mentioned... a novel where a Harlan-Ellison-stand-in gets murdered at a con for being such an obnoxious bleepity-bleep. Apparently inspired by a specific con where Ellison was a bleepity-bleep.

The book was pretty much exactly what I expected: cotton-candy portrayal of con culture from several decades ago, with the murder almost not being the point. (If you’re looking for an actual murder mystery, that’s not really what this book is for. :D ) Since I was completely in the mood for cotton-candy reading, this filled the bill perfectly.
Profile Image for Leta B.
49 reviews
May 2, 2018
This is a hilarious satire of comic/fantasy/ sci fi conventions. I laughed till I cried. Of course, the book is much better if you have actually attended one of the aforesaid conventions but you can still enjoy it otherwise. McCrumb weaves a world of characters, events and good natured humor to a "This is Spinal Tap" level with a bit of murder thrown in for a romping whodunit. I have read this book numerous times and love it more with each read. It's satire without malice; a book that even convention goers will appreciate and have fun with.
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
890 reviews110 followers
May 26, 2010
Pseudo science fiction mystery set at a science fiction convention that looks and sounds like Lunacon set in New York. Very funny if you are a convention goer as she skewers effectively many of the persons who do attends the convention. Very inventive, really capture some of the flavor of the conventions. Not sure if you are not a fan whether you will connect as well, and its notmuch of a mystery
Profile Image for Pamela.
423 reviews20 followers
June 16, 2020
Okay. So, obviously, I chose this because of its impossible to resist title but it turned out to be a pretty good little murder mystery. The setting is a take off on "Trekkie/Fantasy" conventions and the premise is an interesting one. A junior engineering professor writes a hard science fiction novel on an interesting scientific hypothesis about sunspots but, unbeknownst to him before publication, his editor changes the title to the more provocative Bimbos of the Death Sun and books him to appear at this convention. Our professor uses the nom de plume, Jay Omega, and is totally without a clue about this gathering of characters who live out their fantasies in costume and immerse themselves in their favorite genres at these occasions as a way of avoiding the reality of their lives. His girlfriend is not. She teaches science fiction at the same college as Jay Omega and comes along to act as interpreter and help him advertise his book. While there, they meet the famous author of the most popular fantasy series around. Vicious, vulgar, and demanding Appin Dungannon is roundly hated by everyone as much as his books are loved. After berating the entire group at his first appearance, when he turns up murdered the next morning the convention is practically gleeful.

This was surprisingly good. It took a fairly long time to set up this story so the first half was mostly about the convention and the people who were there but by then you are having such a good time hearing about all the oddballs in their costumes that you don't really care. As a reader, it does take a little patience though since I hadn't idea where this book was going until the murder actually occurred. Its a clever little story and all the fun is in the setting and characters. Mildly funny rather than hilarious but I'm actually planning on reading the next one.
Profile Image for M.Q. Barber.
Author 12 books299 followers
May 22, 2014
This well-crafted comedy is both hilarious and forgettable. It's not the sort of story that gives you a soul-deep connection with the characters, and the references are incredibly dated for younger readers (if you don't know what a floppy disk is, or why a computer would need one, or that they come in different sizes, you're probably too young to appreciate the humor), but I zipped through this book in a single afternoon and laughed my ass off.

Our hero, an engineering professor, has fallen accidentally-on-purpose into being a sf author. Attending his first con, he is naturally utterly bewildered by the natives.

Our heroine, the hero's girlfriend and a folklore professor, still feels the sting of her young adulthood journey into fandom and, as such, offers the somewhat pitying condescension of someone who's smug about having "escaped" from Plato's cave.

Our antagonist, a famous author whose books are beloved in the epic fantasy fandom, is the sort who detests his audience and behaves like an entitled ass -- so it's no wonder that he has only scathing things to say about fans and that someone eventually murders the poor bastard.

(That's not a spoiler, btw; the back of the book blurb will tell you the guy gets killed, though it doesn't happen for a good long while in this sff-mystery-ethnography of geek culture circa 1987.)

For modern readers, the thing to remember is that 1987 was a different country. It's not 2014. Geeks don't rule the Earth. The Internet is not keeping us continuously connected to people who love what we love. Cons -- even little regional cons like the one in this book -- are about the only way to stay connected outside fanzines, and cramming every last second with enough wild geekery to last months is your major objective for the weekend.

Some of the author's observations on the culture are painful skewerings of the worst aspects of fandom cranked to eleven, but plenty of them -- even the painful ones -- are right on the mark for the time period, and they fit the voices delivering them.

The humor is spot-on. The mystery is easily unraveled, but the reveal is fun to read anyhow (especially if you're a DM who likes to torment your players or a player who has been so tormented).

If you ever spent the weekend running around a hotel in costume, crashing on couches and floors, staying up until sunrise debating the merits of different editions of D&D or Heinlein's group marriages ... this book's for you.

In closing: The Dragonrider was robbed! Curse you, Appin Dungannon!
Profile Image for Libby.
Author 5 books42 followers
May 30, 2008
A painfully funny indictment of fandom via murder mystery at a fantasy/sci-fi convention. Though the computer technology in the book is 20 years old, its incisive satire remains spot-on, if not more so, since fandom hasn't really changed, it's just gotten bigger.

Still, for all that this is an Edgar winner, it's not particularly interesting as a mystery. The killer and motive are painfully obvious, the conceit by which the killer is caught makes little sense, especially given the protagonist's lack of experience in the SF/fantasy/gaming world, and Sassy Girl Friday's knowledge is hugely underutilized. There's also a marked mean-spiritedness in the way the female convention attendees are portrayed (i.e., fat, trashy, or both), which is sadly ironic, given the way the author attempts to mock the rampant misogyny in speculative literature, only to fall prey to it herself.

For all its flaws, the book is still a great deal of fun- just don't read it if you're looking for a good mystery or feminist critique of pop culture.

Profile Image for Simon Mcleish.
Author 4 books125 followers
January 4, 2013
Originally published on my blog here in October 2001.

Whether or not you have ever attended a science fiction convention, this comic crime novel will be hilariously funny. Engineering professor Dr J.O. Mega has written a hard science fiction novel under the name Jay Omega, and so is able to attend local con Rubicon as a guest author. The other guest, far better known, is Appin Dungannon, author of the lengthy Runewind series and, to fans, almost as well known for his violently difficult behaviour as for his pretty dreadful sword and sorcery epic. When Dungannon is murdered, Mega helps solve the crime for which just about every con attendant is a suspect, but the real enjoyment of the novel is its accurate yet reasonably sympathetic portrayal of the con itself.
Profile Image for Msjodi777.
331 reviews5 followers
March 1, 2016
Not exactly sure what I expected from this book, but I must admit, it wasn't what I got. I thought this would be a good sci-fi book, instead it is a murder mystery which takes place at a science-fiction/fantasy convention. I said it was a murder mystery, and it is, but it is also laugh out loud funny. Within the first 5 minutes, someone reads a button that says: "Reality is a crutch for those who can't handle science fiction." I laughed so hard I had to back the book up so I could hear what came after reading the button.

All in all an excellent book. The narrator, Ruth Ann Phimister, was new to me, but she did a great job. I am however, going to wait before reading the second book in this series, want to space the two out so I don't run out of them so quickly. Highly recommend this one. Definitely 5 stars. <><
Profile Image for Jacqueline Taylor .
165 reviews30 followers
February 5, 2015
If you've never attended a nerdy convention, you may not get all the humor folded into this book. It does a beautiful job at presenting the odd ball nerdy world of fandom. Jay makes a great character. He gives an outside perspective on the world of fandom. This outside perspective allows the author to poke fun at the fans without really giving any true criticism. It is a culture all its own. I also really related to the strange position that Jay finds himself in with his book. From the strange title to the selling of the books; I had nothing but sympathy for the guy. This is one of those books that is just simple, straight forward and silly. There is no layered depths or complex meanings. Its just a look into the world of fandom and a good laugh.
Profile Image for Marie Castellano.
80 reviews1 follower
October 9, 2014
I almost didn't read this because of the title. I'm so glad I reconsidered. The murder of a hated author of popular fantasy novels brings Rubicon, a fantasy convention to a full stop. Suspects abound. Reality takes second place to outrageous role-playing attendees. Bimbos won the 1988 Edgar Allen Poe award for the Best Original Paperback Mystery. It is old, don't let advanced technologies such as floppy discs and old IBM computers get in the way of this fast -paced, funny who-dunnit. It is well written, the plot has appropriate twists and turns and the characters are believable. I learned a lot about the games people play at these events, in particular, I enjoyed peeping in at Dungeons and Dragons. Absolutely fascinating. If you haven't read it, you should give it a whirl!
Profile Image for Bill.
948 reviews316 followers
February 5, 2008
This was a lot of fun. Sharyn McCrumb is best known for her Appalachian novels, but this little departure won her the Edgar award for best original paperpack mystery.

It also pissed off a lot of stuffy Science Fiction fans and the Trekkie ilk. It's a pretty funny murder mystery set at a weekend fantasy convention, complete with jabs towards fanzines, role-playing, geeks,
and a Harlan Ellison-esque star author. A good afternoon waster.
Profile Image for Roger Kean.
Author 49 books84 followers
February 15, 2013
Apart from the disconnect of being give detailed high-end technical info on how to copy floppy disks, this amazingly funny book is as relevant today as it was in the 1980s. Goodreads is full of reviews for it, detailing the story line, but the attendees at a Fantasy Con in (I think Washington DC) are cruelly and accurately described in all their awful nerdyness. Throw in a murder mystery, solved by the least likely character and you have an entertaining read likely to raise out-loud laughs.
Profile Image for Jay Wright.
1,561 reviews3 followers
November 15, 2021
This is not a cheap Sci-Fi novel. It is a murder mystery at a Sci-Fi convention. It is a good natured farce into how fandom works. You have to laugh at the antics of the convention goers. There are the nerds, the girls, the bitter rivalries, and quite simply it is hilarious. The two main characters are college professors and one of them has written a book. I liked it. It was fun.
Profile Image for Aaron.
65 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2018
Whew. This is kind of a hard one to write about. The title is a deliberately cheesy/terrible one, reminiscent of so many really terrible sci-fi and fantasy novels released through the last century and more. Which doesn't make it less awkward to try to explain to people why you're reading it.

And it's still kind of a cheesy book. The main character is named Jay Omega and as names go "Omega" is kind of hard to take for a movie grounded in reality. Beyond that though, the book is a weird kind of unintentional period piece. The setting of the book is a sci-fi/fantasy convention in the late 80s/early 90s and it feels *weird* to read in a lot of ways. Talk about fanzines, play by mail gaming, computer technology that is less powerful than a modern TV remote, and a weirdly quaint way of looking at what we now think of as cosplay.

On to the story. Local engineering prof and new author Jay Omega and his Literature/English prof Marion venture to a convention called Rubicon where world-famous author and equally famous asshole Appin Dungannon is the guest of honor. Jay is unversed in con culture as well as geek culture but Marion helps explain and navigate through all the oddities as Jay does stuff as a decidedly second-tier con guest. Eventually Dungannon is murdered (this is not a spoiler, it's on the back cover) and people deal with the fallout.

We also get the POV of a number of other characters, like a couple of con organizers, some of the attendees, a Scottish folk singer who is on tour and happens to be in the same hotel, Appin Dungannon, Dungannon's editor/publisher, and a police officer.

Almost none of these people actually matter to the story.

Which is honestly one of the big problems with the whole book. They seem to exist in the story to say "man, aren't geeks weird?" and "ha ha, look at these weird obsessions" and almost nothing else. Most of them have no bearing on the story. Most of them have no relationship or interactions with the other characters. You could cut out the POV of the people who are solely attendees and miss nothing except a sort of commentary on geek con culture of the late 80s.

As for the story itself? It's presented in a lot of ways as a murder mystery. "Who killed Appin Dungannon, the author that everybody disliked?" The murder victim isn't actually killed until halfway through the book. You aren't expected to treat this like a whodunnit despite the book's description, which is good because very little focus is on the murder itself. The murderer is exposed through a D&D game, the murderer is probably the most obvious suspect, and things are wrapped up neatly. Credit where credit is due with the murderer's motivation not being what you might think, but that's about the only interesting thing to be found.

I really wanted to like this book. I liked the idea of a murder mystery at a con with tons of suspects and rooting out all the motivations among the weird things that happen at a con, but there was almost none of that. The best part about the book is the way that it exists as a time capsule of the con scene from about 30 years ago. It's otherwise not worth your time, even at a very brief page count.
Profile Image for Sarah Sammis.
7,317 reviews219 followers
June 8, 2007
Parody is hard to write and yet lots of people try their hands at it. Bimbos of the Death Sun purports to be a murder-mystery parody of a sci-fi/fantasy convention. All the stereotypes are there: the obese and desperate women, the pimply geeky fan-boys who forget to eat, the gamers who can't face reality and of course the obnoxious author who is appalling and yet loved by all. In a word: boring!

At the heart of the story is the newly published engineering professor who is too embarrassed by his success to admit it. He's so unlike any science professor I've ever met to be a complete distraction and detraction from the book. He's supposed to be the likeable character in the book but he's so two-dimensional and so far removed from reality that I didn't care what he did, said, thought or felt.

Finally at just past the halfway point of this train wreck of a book there is a murder. It comes so late in the book that there isn't any time to give it a good investigation or to even make it a coherent piece of the plot. There is more time spent on the description of the role playing game at the end of the book than to the resolution of the mystery. If I want to read transcribed games, I'll suffer through Weis and Hickman!
Profile Image for jennifer.
280 reviews16 followers
August 18, 2011
Dr. Jay Omega is an engineering professor who wrote a hard sci-fi novel that explains some of his theories. His publisher re-titled the book as Bimbos of the Death sun, slapped a lurid cover on, and now Omega finds he and his girlfriend at a fantasycon for the weekend where he's expected to give a lecture, judge some horrible fanfiction. lead a D&D game, sell some books and help the police with a murder investigation.

I've never read fantasy, unless you count Harry Potter, and I don't read science fiction or play wargames. Doesn't matter, this is a fun book. I was happy enough with the cast of misfit characters who think they're Norse warriors or Vulcans that I forgot to be on the lookout for a murder. This is a 1988 Edgar Allan Poe award winner and it really hasn't aged that much. The computer stuff has changed, but a hotel of outcasts enjoying the company of their own is timeless.
Profile Image for Kristin.
1,110 reviews30 followers
May 15, 2012
A light, fun, and entertaining murder mystery set at a fantasy convention that melded both genres quite nicely. Definitely not a "serious" read. Having been to scifi conventions, I could totally picture the setting and the cast of characters. If you haven't had the experience of a scifi or fantasy convention, it's pretty much like the book. The tongue in cheek references, character portrayals, activities, hucksters room were pretty spot on. Now this was written when computers were just starting to go mainstream, so the book is dated a bit technology wise, but not a detraction in my opinion.

If you need a book for vacation, a plane ride, or have some waiting ahead of you, this would be a great pick. Read and be entertained.
Profile Image for Marvin.
1,414 reviews5,330 followers
December 20, 2009
Bimbos of The Death Sun is a lightweight who-dunnit that is saved by its clever parody of the sci-fi/fantasy convention scene. Having been to a few of these in my younger...cough, cough!...less mature days I can vouch that much of the satire in this novel is very close to the truth. McCrumb makes it quite humorous. Unfortunately the mystery part of the book is not all that interesting. I did find using a Dungeons & Dragons game to unmask the killer to be an amusing set-up. If you are looking for a light, funny read, you will not be disappointed.
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