Friday, August 1, 2014
Excellent Science Fiction Screwball Humor Novel Thing.
Rex, Adam (2007) The True Meaning of Smekday New York: Hyperion
I am not going to compare this book to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
I mean, sure it made me laugh. More than once. Out loud. And sure, like Doug Adam's books it doesn't so much make fun of the science fiction genre as run with it. In it own wacky way, this book is as probable as classic Asimov, Niven, and Heinlein. I mean, who is to say that if aliens invaded they would be hyper-intelligent. In this book, the invaders, the Boov, might not look anything like humans, but they have technical problems like we do, they attempt simplistic solutions to complicated problems like we do, and they refigure their morality to suit their own ends (like when they take over the US and tell all the humans they get to live in Florida. Then, when the Boov find out they like the climate of Florida, they ship everyone to Arizona. Sounds familiar?
And like Hitchhiker's Guide, it catches you by surprise with its cleverness. The storyline concerns a 12 year old African-American-Italian girl named Gratuity who ends up joining forces with a disenfranchised Boov who has given himself the earth name J.Lo. When they first meet, they ransack an abandoned convenience store. Gratuity loads up on candy and junk food, and J.Lo eats shaving cream and urinal freshener cakes.
Adam Rex takes you on quite a ride in the novel in a way that reminds me how, when you are reading the Hitchhiker's Guide books, you will be happiest if you don't waste time trying to fit them into a traditional Freytag Pyramid of rising action-climax-falling action-denouement.
Anyway, I am not going to compare the two books, because if I did, you would be expecting Smekday to be just like Hitchhiker's Guide and it isn't./ It is completely different kind of chaotic hilarious insanity. But if you like Doug Adam's work and you know that Adam Rex will be different, you may find yourself liking it a great deal. (Just don't ask me to compare the two).
I think this one would be ideal for strong readers from fifth grade and up.
Oh, one other note, I actually heard this one in a wonderful audio version voiced by Bahni Turpin. She really helped the novel to come alive.