Note – As this is actually two books combined into one volume, I’ve taken the synopsis from their individual books as this edition doesn’t have one.
There was a youth protest movement on the planet Jasper. Which should not have been anything new — there were always youth protest movements — and a planet like Jasper with its mixed colonies was entitled to them too. The difference was that these boys and girls had been made into human bombs — they blew up on contact.
That was good enough reason to call in Ben Jolson of the galaxy-famous Chameleon Corps. Jolson could disguise himself as just about anything — doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief, or even icebox.
But Jasper strained him to the limit. Not only did it house a mad combination of mad cultures, but someone else was doing the chameleon trick too — and besides, how do you go around looking like an exploding bomb?
The Tin Angel:
Start with medical transplants, add a dash of cybernetic engineering, and a talking dog can be commonplace. But Bowser was not commonplace–he was the top-rated star of 1999’s television–comedian, commentator, actor, and temperamental headache of the media masters. But he was still a dog–man’s best friend to the vast gaping audience of watchers, and a cur, mutt, and son of a five-letter-word to Bert Schenley, his agent and guardian. So when Bert got two assignments at once–both taking him and Bowser to the battle front in Lower California where the various guerrillas and rebels were making news, history and hysterics, it was the climax. Bowser was determined to keep on grabbing the headlines, Bert was determined to keep a grip on his own life, and the rest were equally set on blotting them both out
So, I have a weakness for hilariously bad classic sci-fi covers. I’ve bought books before because I’ve gone “It’s awful! I love it!” just for the cover and this is one of several sci-fi books I’ve had sitting around for ages. It’s quite a slim volume and is actually made up of two novellas so I figured it’d be a good choice for Sci-Fi month as shouldn’t take long to read and I’ve not actually read that much pulp sci-fi so I thought it might be interesting.
Nope. This book now joins the ranks of the tiny amount of books I’ve given one star to on Goodreads. I kept reading just because I wanted to see how bad it could get.
Firstly, as expected the book is full of sexism and racism which I was expecting, and the homophobia didn’t surprise me that much either and for those grounds alone I would not recommend these to anybody. It was just the kind of bad you can’t stop reading because the entire time you’re thinking “How on earth did somebody actually get this published”.
I’m not even going to bother discussing the plots or the characters because they’re ridiculous however I am going to mention one thing that really stood out. In Flux, the main character spends his time impersonating different characters and at first, he’s impersonating what I assume is a Scottish character due to his “accent” (hint to writers – Unless you speak it, please don’t ever try and write how you think a Scottish character talks). This was done so bad that it was just cringy to read and really I should have just stopped at that point but oh well.
Now, of course I’m not going to recommend this book at all. Indeed, I’m going to get rid of my copy. On the plus side of course, this significantly lowers the bar and just makes me all the more grateful for all the good Sci-Fi out there.