by Candace Sams, futuristic (2008)
LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-505-52762-2
Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller is a mouthful of a title, but it is also fair warning to all readers that this book is not your average sober futuristic romance full of angst and drama. This is Miss Congeniality with a gender twist crossed with some farcical futuristic B-grade movie, with all the over-the-top nonsense that comes with the premise.
In the distant future, Earth has come into contact with aliens from many other planets out there. Every year, in Los Angeles, the wildly popular Mr Interstellar Feller pageant will take place, with male aliens of all species flocking to town to flex their biceps in skimpy swimwear while female aliens of all species treat the whole event like one big hen party. This year, the pageant is going to be more interesting than usual because some contestants are actually wanted criminals who are smuggling weapons of mass destruction into Earth.
Sagan Carter, our Earth Protectorate Force heroine, is rather dismayed when she learns of her mission. Those criminals are on the wanted list of the folks from the planet Oceanus. An Oceanus officer, Keirstrandst T'raskchrdtniq, is coming to Earth to nab these criminals. Normally the Earth Protectorate Force would not allow law enforcers from other planets to barge in and act like they are the bosses around the place, but because Earth is currently trying to complete some diplomatic negotiations with Oceanus, they have to accommodate this Oceanun officer. However, he won't be allowed to run wild that easily. Instead, Keir is allowed to conduct his investigations only if he agrees to participate in the Mr Interstellar Feller pageant. Sagan will of course pose as his manager and watch him closely. As for Keir, a proud man secure in his masculinity and all, having to play the vapid male pageant contestant and submitting himself to a full body wax may be too much even for him to bear. Luckily, Sagan is here to kiss the shame away.
Juvenile humor? Check. Some gross-out humor? Check. Seriously, folks, I am not joking about the gross-out humor thing. Such brand of humor is very subjective, but fortunately for myself as well as for Ms Sams, she manages to get that kind of humor exactly right where I am concerned. I have a great time laughing because this story just pushes with relish all the right buttons where my ability to enjoy the absurd is concerned. The author's sense of timing and her ability to set up a joke leading to a punchline work very well for me. This book, therefore, is too much fun.
I also am pleasantly surprised by how, despite the tomfoolery surrounding the main characters, Sagan is actually - dare I say it - an intelligent and capable heroine. In fact, she is the one who deduces who the bad guy is behind the whole plot and sets successfully in motion the trap for this bad guy. She is also capable of giving back to Keir as good as he dishes out to her - while she is attracted to him and she wouldn't mind feeling those biceps a little more often, she doesn't allow her attraction to fog her common sense or survival instincts. As for Keir, he is a likable hero who is actually pretty gentlemanly when he's with Sagan. He is arrogant, determined to do things his way... and is completely smitten by how Sagan doesn't budge an inch where he is concerned. He likes it when she bosses him around, heh. I really like these two - they are too cute for words.
Do I have any complaints? Well, I'd just lay it out here: I didn't read the love scenes too closely. Can you blame me? The author makes it very clear that Keir's alien pee-pee is "at least ten inches" when flaccid. I can stand watching alien monsters burst out of a man's stomach, spraying gore everywhere. I happily munch popcorns as a serial killer goes wild on his victim using a chainsaw. But tell me that a sex scene involves a penis that is at least ten inches in length and I feel like running away while screaming in terror. The concluding chapters also feature a revelation involving the roles of secondary characters that I'm not too fond of - things are a little too neat as a result of that revelation.
Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller is a romantic comedy with a brand of camp and absurd tomfoolery that will not appeal to everyone. But hey, you know me. I'm that person who enjoyed romances that feature sex with lizard aliens, could appreciate an Orca whale in love with the Loch Ness monster's twin brother, and totally adored a book containing aliens with tentacles passionately in love with each other. This story appeals to that side of me - the delightful heroine is only icing on the cake where I am concerned. If you are feeling adventurous and you don't mind taking a gamble on something completely out of this world, maybe this one will do the trick.
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