I don’t remember how old I was, but I want to say probably around ten, give or take a year.
I wish I knew where it was. Probably thrown away long ago.
The title? Attack of the Killer Mutant Fish
The plot? Fred the pet store owner’s day goes haywire when a mad scientist walks in and dumps toxic ooze into his fish tanks. I had recently visited a pet store, thus providing me with the inspiration. Also, I was a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, though had I managed to get a book deal, Eastman and Laird (creators of TMNT) probably would have sued my ten-year old self.
Medium? Written in a notebook with a pencil in horrible penmanship.
(Cue Bob Saget Narrator from How I Met Your Mother Voice) – Kids, there was a time when not everyone had a computer, or if they did, it didn’t do much. People weren’t obsessed with snapping pictures of what they had for lunch and sharing it with the world, or writing angry tirades about the waitress who brought them cold food and then posting it on Facebook. When people wanted to write, they used these things called pencils to make marks on paper. You know paper right? Thin sheets made out of wood pulp? Never mind.
Review? – As Jon Lovitz’ The Critic would say, “It stinks!” There was a lot of action. The fish grow to an enormous size. They try to eat everyone. Fred shoots the mutant fish. It was pretty much devoid of any artistic merit.
Or was it? Yes, come to think of it, it was an avant grade piece way before its time. It was a grim indictment of man’s futile attempt to conquer nature. In fact, I wrote that in pencil as a subtitle, right on the first page of my notebook:
ATTACK OF THE KILLER MUTANT FISH
OR, A Grim Indictment of Man’s Futile Attempt to Conquer Nature
By: Young Bookshelf Q. Battler
I can’t say it had much in the way of character development. Fred was given no backstory whatsoever. No wife and kids that were depending on him to earn money as a pet store owner. He wasn’t a former soldier who botched up an anti-evil fish mission, forcing him to retire and languish away as a boring pet store owner until finally, fate offered him a chance to redeem himself.
And there was literally no explanation as to why a pet store owner had a gun that he was able to use to fend off the killer mutant fish. Was the pet store in a downtrodden, crime-ridden neighborhood? Was Fred an ex-member of the Yakuza, and thus he felt the need to pack heat at all times out of fear that he could be attacked by his enemies at any moment?
As for the Mad Scientist, the man didn’t even get a name. He just walks in, dumps toxic ooze into the tanks, then leaves. Kind of a jerk, really. But who was he? Was he a deranged Chemical Engineer, whose ideas were rejected one too many times by his scholarly peers, so he decided to take revenge and take over the world with an army of killer mutant fish? Perhaps he was Fred’s arch-nemesis? Maybe Fred and the Scientist once fought in battle during their Yakuza days and now were clashing again?
Personally, I just like to assume Fred stole the Mad Scientist’s woman.
Anyway, I wish I could find the notebook that contained this harrowing tale. But this blog post will serve as the treatment, so if any big time hotshot book agents and/or Hollywood bigwigs are reading, let me know if you are interested and also how much money you want to throw my way.