If you’re looking for a hilarious sci-fi adventure, then you’re unfortunately barking up the wrong tree. But if a poor man’s Guardians of the Galaxy is what you crave, then Space Team #1 by Barry J. Hutchison has got you covered.
After being sentenced to two years in prison for identity theft, career criminal Cal Carver’s bad day only gets worse as he finds himself sharing a jail cell with the most prolific serial killer cannibal in the history of planet Earth. But that’s just the beginning as Earth is invaded by aliens and Cal is abducted while the rest of the human race is wiped out.
The man behind Cal’s kidnapping is Hayel Sinclair, the president of the Zertex Corporation which controls over eleven billion planets and trillions upon trillions of lifeforms. Sinclair, mistaking Cal for the serial killer cannibal, makes him the captain of a motley crew of hard-core criminals tasked with pretty much saving the universe. The space team includes Mizette, a she-wolf, Mech, a hulking Cyborg, Gunso Loren, a blue-skinned pilot, and Splurt, a shapeshifting blob of green gloop.
While Hutchison’s writing style is enjoyable and the book is fast-paced with a clear plot, for the most part, Space Team lets us down. The protagonist Cal is unlikeable and pretty much sums it up when he says, “I was trying to be funny, that’s all. What can I say? I joke when I’m nervous, and my jokes are rarely good.”
You can say that again. For a comedic novel, there is a distinct lack of LOL’s. In fact, there were none for me, just two almost LOL’s.
What’s worse is that some of Hutchison’s running gags are flat out irritating. Take for instance the non-cursing bit. President Sinclair has a translation chip implanted into Cal’s ear which serves to translate any language he hears into English, with the added feature of sanitizing profanity. ‘Fuck’ automatically becomes ‘fonk.’ When Cal gets into a tussle at a bar, we hear, “Now, gather up your shizz, and get your ams the fonk out of my bar.” Not only is this the opposite of funny, it’s persistently annoying throughout the entire book.
But I suppose there are some elementary school kids out there who will love this and similar running gags. These kids have shitty senses of humor and without a doubt deserve at least one swirly a day. (Just in case you’re never heard the term swirly, Urban Dictionary defines it as “the process of sticking someone’s head in the toilet and flushing. An absolute must for wieners with retarded senses of humor.”)
Other running gags fall similarly flat and there are some frustrating flaws like the aliens kidnapping the wrong person in the first place. How the fuck would this happen when they know everything about him and should even be carrying pictures for reference?!
Having said that, there are some enjoyable bits. I can’t remember any specifics, but I’m pretty sure they were in there. Something about the shape-shifting gloop and each character having his or her role to play.
To sum up, while Space Team provides no hearty LOL’s and for the most part fails at humor, it’s still well written and fast-paced with a clear plot. 2.5 pearls rounded up to 3 because I’m kinda interested in what the space team does next. Fortunately, after I sleep on it, I’ll no doubt realize that I don’t give a shit.
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