Science fiction and fantasy
by Rob Grant
But Gordon wins a great deal of money in a casino, and changes his mind about spending the rest of his natural life cooped up in a spaceship. So Gordon offers Eddie his place on the Project, planning to double cross him as soon as the ship is too far away to return.
Eddie must conceal his identity and pretend to hold values he despises. He is wondering how long he can keep up the act when there is an accident. When he comes round a few centuries have passed and he is minus quite a lot of body parts.
The ship has changed dramatically and appears to be falling to pieces. The inbred inhabitants have forgotten how to read, and believe him to be Dr Morton. Eddie has to put on a whole new act to avoid discovery. To make matters worse the ship is on a collision course with a gas giant, and a psychopath is trying to kill him.
The blurb on the jacket promises comedy: "A generation-spanning epic saga of treachery, revenge and fluorescent pink socks."
It is funny, but not in a laugh-out-loud way, it's more of an inner cheesy grin. It's hard not to compare this to Red Dwarf, particularly as the territory is so similar. In that respect Rob Grant has not changed direction, sticking with the genre and style he is known for. But here there are far fewer jokes.
There is plenty of action however, and the fast pace is maintained throughout. As you might imagine there's nothing too technical involved, it`s all very light and easily understood. The main character, Eddie, is the very opposite of a hero, neither a thinker or a doer and often a bit of a wimp. He's interesting enough to stay with, but not high on my list of great fictional characters.
What really lets this book down is the ending. Matters are sorted out too quickly and easily in the final chapter. Elements are brought in that haven't been introduced in the rest of the book, which is a case of the author cheating readers by not giving them a fair chance to guess how it would end. I can't say any more because I don't want to give away what happens. I also felt that more should have been written to explain how the characters coped with this ending.
The book is about as deep as a puddle and not terribly satisfying. But it`s entertaining and could fill a few bored hours quite well. And it might help, if you are unfortunate enough to live with your head immersed in green gloopy snot.
If you like this, try:Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez
What's an evil genius to do when he gets bored of being overlord of a whole planet?
Eve by Aurelio O'Brien
This silly yet incisive satire mixes up the primordial soup.