Saturday, 28 June 2014

First Book Review: Galaxy Billies by Michell Plested

In August 2012, Michell Plested successfully released his first professionally published book, Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero. It is a book about a 9 year old boy who wishes that he had superpowers after going to watch Spiderman at the local cinema. All he wants to do is be able to protect his small, home town.

Galaxy Billies, whilst still in the comedic genre, is more focused at the older members of this planets population and is firmly grounded (or launched?) in Science Fiction. Some people find themselves trapped in a single genre, usually by a successful character of whom the public demand sequel after sequel. Afters manage to switch between genres as if it is as easy as changing your a pair of pants (trousers for my North American readers).  Michell (pronounced Michael, not Michelle!) firmly sits in the latter category.

Before I start this, I should stress that Galaxy Billies is not yet complete. The avid readers out there will be able to catch up in relatively short order and will then need to wait for new publications as they are delivered by Michell. Serialis(z)ation of novels works very well for me, especially so in this case. I am definitely tuning in for future releases! So far, we have 37 chapters. I'm not all the way through yet, but I guarantee I will be finished soon.

So... enough of the waffle... Mmmm i love waffles, especially with lashings of butter and strawberry jam, topped off with some whipped cream if it's available. <ahem> What is Galaxy Billies? Well, as I mentioned above, it is a Science Fiction Comedy. Akin to the acclaimed Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, or Red Dwarf by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. Both massive influences for me and I am huge fans of both styles of writing (and TV production in the case of the latter). I'm sure just being mentioned in the same breath as the inventors of 'Don't Panic' and 'Smeg head' will be praise enough, but it is well earned praise.

Galaxy Billies follows the adventures of five human beings who have been abducted by a sentient ship passing by Earth whose previous crew died (from what we are not exactly told at the start). The ship cannot function without an intelligent crew of five to provide sufficient sentience to continue its forgotten mission. Very similar to the classic episode 'Legion' from series 6 of Red Dwarf. Now, the thing is, and what works so well in this setting, these human beings can only very loosely called intelligent. Well, they can only loosely be called human beings! They have been kidnapped from a small town in the Appalachian Mountains and all come across as being below average IQ and carrying a heavy southern drawl.

The result is a gripping tale that brings together interesting aspects of Science Fiction with well structured and intelligent humour. It works very well for and I have thoroughly enjoyed the read. I hope you choose to read it too and, if you do, that you enjoy it as much as I have.

My Rating: "Page Turner" (7/10)