Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Review: Zaftan Entrepreneurs

Title: Zaftan Entrepreneurs
Author: Hank Quense
Genre: science fiction / fantasy / humor
Price: $17.99 (print)
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 978-1456349387
Point of Sale: Amazon.
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

Hank Quense sent me a proof copy of his latest novel, Zaftan Entrepreneurs, which is billed as Book One of a trilogy. It’s an amusing and satirical take on science fiction, especially the classic “first contact” story.

The titular Zaftans are your basic B-movie pug-uglies – walking squids with eight semi-independent brains. They, or at least the group represented on the mining ship Black Carrion Flower, fly about the galaxy mining Rare Earth minerals. The Black Carrion, being a bit down on its luck, arrives in the Gundarland system, a solar system that “flaunted unpretentiousness.” The one planet in the system with usable minerals happens to be inhabited by a collection of races from fantasy – humans, elves, dwarves, etc. Since the Zaftans have a high opinion of themselves (for no discernable reason) and the Gundarland tech-level is mid-Victorian, the Zaftans decide to take the local yokels for a ride.

It’s not much of a spoiler to tell you that the locals, including a female dwarf constable named Leslie Higginbottom and a miner named MacDrakin Gemfinder, have other ideas. The implementation of these ideas leads to a very humorous romp through the book. Quense spares nobody in his satire – taking aim at politicians, bureaucrats and trade union members with equal zest, just to name a few of his targets.

From Quense’s blog I read that “Most of my characters share a common trait: namely, Tunnel Vision, the ability to selectively view events through a set of personal filters that eliminate everything except what effects the wearer of the filters.” This fatal flaw allows for much of Quense’s humor, which is effectively worked into the story. Overall, I found Zaftan Entrepreneurs a very enjoyable and light read. Recommended.

Rating: 8/10

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