There Goes the Galaxy by Jenn Thorson

As you can see from the reviews below, I have been reading more non-fiction of late and not exactly fluff subjects either. So I figured it would be good to read something a little more lighthearted. So when Jenn Thorson tweeted about her new book There Goes the Galaxy, and there was a Kindle version for only a couple of bucks, I picked it up.

I turned out to be a sort of slap-stick science fiction adventure: earthling kidnapped by aliens only to find he is slated to save his home planet but must fight his way through the rather bizarre universe to do so.

It’s the age-old tale of boy meets alien abductor. Boy meets stun-gun. Boy learns he’s the only one who can save the Earth from Extreme World Makeover by interstellar landlords. Yeah: he thinks it’s a bit much, too. Like everyone else on his planet, Bertram Ludlow hasn’t paid much attention to fluctuations in the intergalactic real estate market. But as a cognitive psychology grad student, he has given some thought to what a complete mental breakdown looks like. And this is pretty close. Now he’s discovering space is a mad and mind-boggling place where interspecies communication rests on the power of a gumball. Where androids demand better work/life balance. Where crime is Art, technology still has its bugs, and lasers don’t actually go “pyew-pyew.” It’s also surprisingly easy to get on the Universe’s Most Wanted list. So with the weight of the world on his shoulders and the cosmic law on his tail, can Bertram outrun, outwit and out-bid to save the Earthling squatters from one spaced-out redevelopment plan?

And it is pretty funny; full of sarcastic retorts, one liners, absurd situations and lots of word play. A send up of the absurdities of earth culture through the lens of aliens. If you like smart aleck and playful sci-fi you will enjoy this one.

I did feel like it was drawn out a bit too much and the plot suffered. Interspersed with the narrative plot chapters are what you might call marketing guide book parodies.  In the guise of a book on famous examples of marketing success these chapters fill the reader in on the bigwigs who are the seeking to buy Earth in this Extreme World Makeover competition that threatens to either kill of the planet’s population or make them intergalactic slave baristas.  These chapters are clever, and were funny at times, but they really slowed the book down (as noted they did add some important background information but I am not sure they were the best vehicle or tool for this).

And the marketing and reality show aspect as a hook was a little thin at times; there are a lot of side characters and alien cultures to try and digest and they are rely all that developed. But, to be fair, you don’t read these kind of books to think to deeply about the plot and plausibility. And if this becomes a series, the author is working on book two I believe, then the details can get filled in as the story progresses I suppose.

My verdict: a genuinely funny intergalactic comic adventure that could use a little more polish and plot tightening.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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