Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book review: To Cure the Humans

To Cure the Humans is the kind of story that I would write if I were actually as clever as I imagine myself to be. And, you know, if I were ever disciplined enough to make myself sit down and write a book.

The novel, the first from Austin-based author Douglas Lewis, is a sci-fi comedy set mostly on Earth. The story centers around an alien, Peter of Blutaark, who has a remarkable piece of technology called the “BAT” which has the ability to diagnose and cure almost any ailment in any species. Peter’s not exactly the rightful owner of the BAT, so there’s an inept bounty hunter on his tail. A few unlucky humans find themselves caught up in the chase, and the troubles escalate when (also inept) executives from insurance and pharmaceutical companies join the hunt, each with their own designs on the BAT. And of course a shadowy (and inept) government agency that deals with aliens soon becomes involved, throwing all of their resources into the matter – or at least those resources that aren’t away on a company canoe trip.

Don’t get caught up in the odd plot. As with the most famous books of another Douglas, Douglas Adams, the details of the story really aren’t that important. (Note that each version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – radio series, book, television series, computer game, big screen – contains major plot differences.) It’s the quirky characters and snarky humor that pull you in and keep you laughing all through the convoluted ride. Yes, comparisons to Adams are tossed around quite a lot these days, but To Cure the Humans comes as close as any book I’ve read to capturing the exuberant irreverence and parodies of storytelling convention of Adams’ best. What happens doesn’t matter nearly as much as how it happens. This book is loads of fun, and highly recommended.

To Cure the Humans is available on Amazon and Goodreads.

(Note: As I’ve mentioned here before, more and more of my friends are becoming authors as time goes by. In this case, though, I didn’t know Doug Lewis before reading his book – he was a friend of a friend-who-became-an-author who then himself became an author, and is now a friend. Read that through again if necessary, it really does make sense. Doug graciously provided me with a free copy of To Cure the Humans with no obligation to read, like, promote or review it.)

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