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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2022
  • 979-8843157890 B0B8XMMG6Z
  • 273 pages
  • $9.99
Ebook Details
  • 08/2022
  • -- B0B8C2GKMF
  • 278 pages
  • $2.99
Edward Ringel
Author
I Look Forward to Further Collaboration Between Our Species
A stoned-out, alien bionic robot named Reldap makes an emergency landing at a small airfield in rural Maine. Staggering from his half-wrecked ship, he sets out to complete his mission: develop friendly relations with the people of Earth on behalf of his home planet, Lattern, 25 light years away from Earth. Given the unusual circumstances of his arrival, this turns out to be harder than anticipated. Backwoods Maine is not exactly the center of the world’s space program, and he takes whatever help he can get. To top it all off, several thousand alien critters are inadvertently let loose on the planet. Officially named kleptrons, they are referred to colloquially as brainsuckers… Negotiating a path among an impatient Lattern mission control team, overreaching government flunkies, the usual assortment of special interest crazies, and the day-to-day foibles of 22nd Century corporate America, our hero does his best. Aided by his new-found human friends, does he succeed?
Reviews
A gentle sendup of 21st century American culture arrives in a goofy 22nd century first alien contact story, Ringel’s playful novel introduces the people of the planet Lattern, who, curious about humanity’s combination of creativity and tribalized violence, send a friendly emissary in the form of Reldap, a biobot version of an important official’s unmotivated stoner son. After crashing his craft in rural Maine, Reldap meets doctor/writer Dr. Ed Gilner, who helps him navigate Earth media and politics while addressing the two big problems Reldap has caused: the ecstasy-producing kleptrons, aka brainsuckers, that he has released, and the broken ship that must be fixed quickly to avoid repercussions on Lattern.

“This is a silly book, but I had a lot of fun writing it,” Ringel writes in prefatory material, setting clear expectations for the madness to follow. Ringel’s spry sense of humor shines throughout, and the closeness of the story at times to 21st century realities—the doublespeak of Homeland Security, the incompetence of the “Prez,” an industry leader’s zeal to allow people the freedom to have their brains destroyed—situate the tale firmly in the satirical realm. The best method to stop kleptrons from biting: wearing tin foil over one’s head, a technique that inspires the observation, “Tinfoil bonnets didn’t exactly have a sterling reputation among the sane.”

Ringel follows the lead of other comedic science fiction in making nothing particularly alien about the Latternites, primarily using them as a foil to criticize human behavior. That’s not to say Redalp’s not strange: one moment of alien cultural exchange with humanity involves the sharing of a biological sample, the details of which are best left unspoiled. The story alternates between Gilner’s reminiscences and Reldap’s journals, with a welcome emphasis on science, but the novel’s driven by events rather than voices, and readers should not expect much in the way of interiority. Instead, this is a playful pageant and thought experiment, working through the possibilities of the scenario with wit and ingenuity.

Takeaway: This satiric first-contact story explores how ludicrous American culture could look to alien eyes.

Great for fans of: Douglas Adams, Robert Sheckley.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: N/A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2022
  • 979-8843157890 B0B8XMMG6Z
  • 273 pages
  • $9.99
Ebook Details
  • 08/2022
  • -- B0B8C2GKMF
  • 278 pages
  • $2.99

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