Other than the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, I can’t think of many other books that start out more strangely than Space Tripping.
The tale opens when Chuck Higgins is standing by his truck and a drunken alien pilot, Jopp Wenslode, crash-lands on earth and tries to hijack the truck. In short order, the truck, Chuck, and Jopp are pulled skyward inside a huge alien spaceship. All this in less than three pages.
A bewildered Chuck finds himself forced to help Jopp work off a debt to the universe’s oldest corporation, the Prime Partners Intergalactic Consortium. That or be eaten by aliens who don’t think much of human abilities. Chuck and Jopp are chased across the galaxy as Jopp has been assigned the task of transporting a mysterious and apparently valuable black case. What follows is something of a college guy’s sci fi fantasy. There are endless streams of flowing alcohol or similar beverages with equivalent kicks. Chuck is astonished to meet a species called the Griffins who believe earth humans have set the intergalactic standard for partying. Perhaps alluring police officer Rohi Kahpanova can best be described as Omni-sexual as she gets along with various genders and alien species, although we don’t see her, or anyone else for that matter, engaged in that sort of physical activity.
Despite claims made in the book’s publicity, I wouldn’t categorize this quirky tale as comedy. Most of the humor occurs in the bantering, very colloquial dialogue between Jopp and Chuck. There’s one element very reminiscent of the Stainless Steel Rat books, namely the constant stream of escapes from space pirates and interplanetary police.
Patrick Edwards gives us more than a fast-paced if very light read. He has a very descriptive eye, especially detailing the constantly shifting settings and the many types of aliens. Still, this isn’t a romp to take very seriously. It’s like an old-fashioned science fiction adventure story with no attempt to be believable or give readers some sort of social message. If you like your sci fi fun, Space Tripping should be down your alley. Oh yea, it’s just volume one of a new series. There’s a sample chapter from book two to whet your appetite.
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