I got this book earlier in the year, but it was not until I heard the author talking about her work I remembered what had attracted me to it (apart from the price). It’s wacky, it’s scifi and it’s a trilogy in four books.
The Pan of Hamgee is useless at most things, and what’s more he’s been on the Blacklist and therefore wanted by both the Grongolians and the Resistance, for five years now. That is a record, but it’s largely because his major skill is… running away. This makes him the ideal person to become the getaway driver for Big Merv’s illicit activities, mainly concerned with robbing banks. Arnold’s Y-fronts! Who would have the nerve to rob the Grongolian Central Bank? Surely nobody in their right mind … ok, you’ve guessed it!
This is a brilliantly inventive romp through a seriously repressed society who are rather used to the status quo, so nobody really minds any more, and anyway the Resistance is probably working for the Grongolian dictators. The author belongs firmly in the theatre of the absurd school of writing and I adore it. There is a tendency (unsurprisingly) to include some in-jokes about London, or English, politics and lifestyles (which I find refreshing in the ebook world, since we Brits are a minority group), but the general tenor of the jokes will amuse all early teens and adults who enjoy Pythonesque humour (or Goons, or Goodies, or HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy). It may even appeal to Pratchett fans.
It also pulls through to early Sword & Sorcery works like Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, another series I loved, or John Brunner’s Traveller in Black. And it deals with alternative universes, which ticks another of my boxes, and the underlying theme is one that will provide lovers of deeper meaning plenty to get their teeth into. And the snurd (the getaway car) will appeal to another set of people – it’s really cool!
It’s pacey, original, intriguing, off the wall, and I love it. Thank goodness there are three more books in the trilogy to look forward to!
One lucky person in Europe will win a paperback copy of this books as prize in my latest giveaway – see link top right!