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Beatnik rutabagas from beyond the stars

by Quentin Dodd


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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In the spirit of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker series comes a spunky debut novel about teenage science-fiction fans recruited by feuding alien races to serve as commanders in a major battle. Everyboy Walter Nutria agrees to help the Lirgonians, who look "like chubby middle-aged men... [in] too-tight pajamas with built-in feet, mittens, and hoods." His almost-girlfriend Yselle ("It's not like we've been out on dates or anything, but we watch movies together all the time," says Walter) is strategizing for their enemy, the Wotwots, who look like giant rutabagas. It's a wild ride, especially since the spaceships break, mysterious mice keep stealing everything in sight, and neither group of aliens has any military skill or even common sense. They're especially given to kvetching about each other: "I don't have to take this from the culture that plays kazoos at its weddings!" screams the Wotwot captain. Eventually, the teenagers convince the aliens to unite in persecution of the havoc-wreaking Space Mice, and they all wind up saving the universe from a power-mad villain named Doctoral Candidate X. This is not for readers who like their characters rational: people risk their lives out of boredom and believe unbelievable lies. But Dodd's agenda is laughs, and his extravagant imagination matches well with his flippant writing style. A lighter-than-air read that opts for wit over logic. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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School Library Journal :

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Gr 4-6-A silly science-fiction tale. Walter Nutria and Yselle Meridian love to watch B-rated sci-fi flicks. One day while skipping school, Walter is picked up by some aliens and asked to head up the Lirgonian fleet (which consists of a single spaceship) and to help them defeat their mortal enemies, the Wotwots. Unbeknownst to Walter, the Wotwots have recruited Yselle to take charge of their spaceship. The two "generals" attempt to organize a truce between the warring parties, but they have no luck until both ships are stolen by the Space Mice. Then it's up to Yselle and Walter to find the vessels, save the Earth from the evil Doctoral Candidate X and his Terror Fleet, and to negotiate a truce between the Lirgonians and the Wotwots. Sadly, Dodd tries too hard to be funny and neglects character and plot development, resulting in two-dimensional figures and a flimsy story. There are too many characters thrown in for color, or just to make it "funnier and weirder" so that the entire novel seems obvious and overdone.-Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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