Space Team

By Barry Hutchison

Space Team, a novel by Barry Hutchison
Book details

Space Team is one of those rare gems, a genuinely funny science fiction story that manages to entertain from beginning to end.

The book follows the miss-adventures of small-time conman Cal Carver, abducted by aliens from incarceration due to a case of mistaken identity. His day goes from bad to worse after two-thirds of the human race is wiped out in a single stroke and he's cajoled into taking part on a mission that turns into a frantic battle to save an entire alien civilization – and its god – from total annihilation.

I was un-prepared for just how amusing this book is, there is a genuine, ridiculous humour (think Red Dwarf or Hitch-Hikers Guide) that manages to hit the right notes between farce and sobriety. The authors voice is charming and the quality of the prose makes reading Space Team a breeze - 274 pages consumed in little time at all. It's all quite clever too, with many a nod to classic sci-fi tropes.

Then there is the cast, a belligerent bunch of back-stabbing missfits. The interplay between them is pure comedy gold, characterisation is spot-on. The story is equally engaging with a few genuine suprises and more twists than a water-park slide. The silly humour belies the complexity of the writing, the characters are well thought out with hints at involving backstories that perhaps we will learn about in later novels.

The Independent newspaper describes Hutchinson as a "new Terry Pratchett" but I think they've completely missed the mark, the humour being much more akin to Adams, Naylor with a scattering of Monty Python. Regardless it's rare for me to laugh so much with a book.

Space Team is perfect for anyone who enjoys (and misses) the tales from Doug Naylor, Harry Harrison and Douglas Adams. It's fun, frantic fantastic fiction.

Written on 3rd April 2017 by .

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