I first encountered John Jakes through his brilliant Secrets of Stardeep, a first-rate young adult SFF story. Some time later, I found On Wheels a projection that’s still interesting in the US’ auto-focused culture. By that time, though, Jakes had gone on to his highly successful historical novels, and left SFF behind.
Not all of Jakes’ SFF was good. Sadly, that’s the case with Mention My Name in Atlantis. It’s a farce with the best of intentions, wrapping together Atlantis, Conan, and UFOs, with some of the feel of Martin Scott’s later Thraxas series. Scott, however, does it better. Mention My Name simply isn’t very funny. It has plenty of useful material, but it doesn’t build to very much. Hoptor is amusing, but only mildly. The best scenes are those with Conax, when Jakes pokes fun at Howard’s over-muscled barbarian king. Overall, some of the scenes are good, but the plot is thin, and the ending an afterthought. It feels like just what Jakes describes in the introduction – something tossed off to amuse himself, but not really worth a larger audience.
Mildly amusing, but Jakes has better books, and Martin Scott’s Thraxas series does this same thing better.