- Battle Beyond the Dolestars (Battlestar Suburbia #2).
- Chris McCrudden.
- 352 pages.
- Space Opera / SFF / Fiction / Humour.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
Time for the Machine Republic to Kurl Up and Dye
It’s a year since the Battlestar Suburbia broke free from Earth and the human rebellion is hiding out in the asteroid belt. Their leader, Admiral Janice, is assembling a fleet she hopes can topple robot rule – except on Wednesday afternoons when she can do you a half head of highlights for 30 quid.
Janice has given Darren, now the reluctant captain of the teenage starship Polari, a critical mission, to open up a path back to Earth by bombing the Martian Gap Services. But when it goes wrong and Darren and his crew are chased deep into the solar system, Janice has only one hope left, back on Earth.
Here, sentient breadmaker Pamasonic Teffal is resisting the human–machine war the best way she knows how: by running for office. Until a distress signal from Janice persuades her to get her turbo-charged alter ego Pam Van Damme out of mothballs, that is…
Can Pam save the solar system and rescue Kelly from the clutches of her nemesis, the crazed smartphone-turned-cyborg, Sonny Erikzon?
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I will admit that I’m not usually one for humorous and wacky books. But, the blurb for Battle Beyond the Dolestars piqued my interest and I decided to give the book a try. Straying away from my usual haunt of all things dark and replacing that darkness with something offbeat and zany…and I’m glad that I did! While I haven’t read the first book I was easily able to pick this one up and enjoy it based purely on its own merits without any prior knowledge.
Normality is thrown out of the window and wackiness is given free rein to run rampant throughout the story. Battle Beyond the Dolestars is set ten millennia in the future. Machines became sentient, rose up, banished the fleshies ‘humans’ into space and now rule the Earth as ‘The Machine Republic‘ and their leader is, Prime Minister Sonny Erikzon. The machines have concreted over the oceans and their capital ‘Singulopolis’ is the size of three continents. Humans live on the Dolestars, space stations that resemble council estates and slums that orbit the Earth. Humanity is in servitude to the machines commuting daily from space to Earth for their jobs as cleaners and other menial jobs that are beneath the machines. One year ago the humans went on strike, downed their mops and the rebellion started.
The Battlestar Suburbia is home to eight million humans and commanded by Admiral Janice, the reluctant leader of the rebellion and hairdresser extraordinaire. Janice is trying to come up with a plan on how to liberate the humans from the tyranny of the rule of the machines whilst keeping the Suburbia hidden deep in an asteroid belt and away from the prying eyes of the machines. Darren is captain of Polari, the only starship that the humans have and, who has an AI/Operating System that acts like a teenager. Polari’s mission goes awry and the ship ends up in the far reaches of the solar system far from the conflict between humans and the machines with no way back. Back on Earth, Pamasonic Teffel (a breadmaker and a civil servant who is motherly, homely and polite) and her duel body alter-ego Pam Van Damme (a scarlet motorcycle that is brash and loud, the opposite of Pamasonic and who also happens to be wanted by the law) have to find a way to rescue Kelly from the Sonny Erikzon and stop his deranged plan to destroy the Battlestar Suburbia.
The flight crew aboard the Battlestar Suburbia are Ada, Alma, Freda and Ida, four bickering old biddies who, thousands of years ago were clients at an ancient ancestor of Janice in Kurl Up and Dye. While waiting for their latest hairdo to dry they suffered an accident and found themselves as cyborgs, fused under the chairs and huge hairdryer helmets of that era. There are also soldiers for the rebellion, daring old dears (elderly aunties, grandmas and the like) dubbed ‘The Rockettes’ because they pilot rocks. I’m just throwing it out there but if the soldiers only included nannas then the name ‘Nitro Nannas‘ is pretty cool. 😉
While, on the machine side of the war, there is a megalomaniac Tank in charge of the Starship Deathtrap who has an infantile AI/Operating System that loves cartoons and who won’t obey orders unless it is bribed with more cartoons.
On Earth, there’s a gap between the virtual and the physical world where passage into the Internet is possible making it the most popular tourist destination on Earth and giving memes bodies. The Internet cats are absolutely hilarious. there are fondle parlours where machines can go, in private, to have their buttons caressed, pressed and pushed by humans because some, well, some miss and yearn for that touch of human flesh to turn them on.
My favourite characters were Pamasonic Teffel, Chubb (a small half lockpick, half drone who is with Darren aboard Polari and who is endearing and full of sass) and Schrodinger the cat.
I will admit that, at times, you do have to suspend your disbelief, especially when trying to picture the various machines interacting with each other (for one example, a printer talking to a tank) and it can be hard to create an image in your mind. It is definitely best not tax your brain too much over it and instead, just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
The story in Battle Beyond the Dolestars is barking mad and quirky. But, there are also some shrewd references to the current political climate and the plastic problem that is plaguing the oceans thrown into the mix too.
Sometimes you just need something fun to read that will lighten your mood and make you smile and that’s what Battle Beyond the Dolestars is. McCrudden has crafted a clever but crazy page-turning bonkers story that is full of witty one-liners, puns (admittedly, some bad puns too which are hilarious) and plenty of pop culture references that hits the sweet spot for some absurd escapist fun.
Purchase Battle Beyond the Dolestars (Battlestar Suburbia #2).
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