(4 / 5)
Carl Shan is an underappreciated scientist who is absolutely sick and tired of it all.
His research ideas are illegal. He’s been fired. The twenty-nine year old is dumped and has been reduced to living with his parents in stupid Barnley. Furious with the way the world treats him and knowing that he should always believe in himself, Carl decides to leave it all behind. He builds a time machine to the year 2117. When he arrives, he is surprised to find his workshop a mess.
Why are the buildings in ruins and the streets empty? Also… since when did baby animals have such sharp claws?
This book is the very definition of why I became a book blogger and why I love it. Because I get to reach outside my comfort zone and read something that is just so unlike me to pick up in the first place. My initial reaction to the blurb and synopsis that was sent to me by the author was something that should be a B movie on Sci-Fi. But I say that in the most loving way, because those movies are more willing to take risks and do things that mainstream tries to avoid. (A shark…tornado?? That sounds AMAZING I rest my case.) This book fulfilled all of a SciFi lovers dreams.
When you start with the disclaimer at the front, the author warns you that it is full of “half-right trivia and completely wrong science.” If you watch Rick and Morty on cartoon Network, one would definitely draw parallels between this book and that show. He even runs around in the lab coat the whole time.
Carl is a narcissistic scientist who is convinced that he is the smartest man on the planet and has many illegal inventions at various stages in his lab. He is tired of being unappreciated in his life and his word, so he builds a time machine and goes to the year 2117.
When he arrives in the future he finds that the world has been taken over by bloodthirsty killer baby animals. The survivors of this unbalancing act live in constant fear of attack from droves of these animals that seem to come from one place, a place controlled by the Cuteness Overlord. So begins Carl’s journey through this ridiculous world that is now his reality, as he didn’t think to figure out how to travel backward in time. He meets many different people as he travels through this landscape to hunt and battle this Cuteness Overlord, all have adapted to the dystopian agenda in their own way. My favorite people were the ones that were straight up LARPing in the woods, swords, horses, kings and queens, “my lady’s” and everything.
Carl is a relatively unlikable character but hilarious in the deliverance of his lines through the story. There are many, many comedic instances throughout this book. Seeing as how it could be considered a dystopian, most knowledge from our time is lost in this world between then and now. Much of it is reflected in the ways that the civilian talk and their extremely limited knowledge of the past.
There is a strong supporting cast in this story, they were just as lively and funny as Carl in every instance. Carl should be the strongest character in the book, since he is the protagonist, but many times he is just as swept away in what is happening in the book as we are, since he is a firsthand witness to the lunacy that is happening before his very eyes.
As he reflects on the ridiculous happenings (and they are ridiculous) you can see the subtle changes in the character and before too long it seems that he really fits into this world that he has transported himself to. In his past life he was an unpredictable scientist that no one trusted, but in this new world he is a valued citizen and a hero.
The authors writing style is different in many ways, but it’s not particularly hard to read, and I think that it matches Carl’s unpredictable genius brain and the way he thinks. The story still flows seamlessly, and for it being a SciFi Comedy Dystopian, something that I don’t read very often, it held my attention quite nicely until the very end.
I think what makes this book unique and something that I would recommend to others is the combination of such great genres to create something truly authentic. What should be a grim and scary premise for a Stephen King novel has you rolling on the floor with laughter because of the absurdity of it all.
They do have to kill the baby animals in this story. They have claws and they will getcha if you get too close. There is not A LOT of killing scenes in the book.
I know that this book sounds insanely outlandish, and it is, but it is also a well constructed Hero’s Journey, that just has some obscenely funny things that happen along the way. I would recommend this to anyone who likes B movies, silly, silly books, maybe DR Who? Or Monty Python even?
Funny, original, refreshing. 4/5 stars.