There is something about Yahtzee Croshaw that has always appealed to me. I discovered his Zero Punctuation just before it got picked up The Escapist back in 2007. His disdain for tropish literature and general cynicism for, well, everything puts him in the same mode of engaging various forms of media as I do. It wasn’t until 2010 that he wrote his first novel called Mogworld, which follows dead sorcerer who is dragged into the fickle strands of unlife by a renegade sorcerer. Mogworld was actually the book I was reading at the time I was first diagnosed with diabetes, the sardonic humor of which actually did a lot to keep me from drifting too hard into the dark and perilous space that chronic illness tends to drag the newly ill. His second book following a jam-based apocalypse entitled simply Jam was less impressive, mainly because five years was enough time for me forget literally everything other than what the title reminded me. So, we are up to a mix bag of plots but a solid handle of authorial voice and humor.
Which leads up here, to his most recent novel Will Save the Galaxy for Food, a satirical sci-fi space adventure where the stereotypical age of heroic star pilots has been rended and torn into a gristles of spongy memory due to the invention and ubiquity of teleportation because why indeed would you risked being mugged by space pirates if you can simply violate the laws of space-time by getting somewhere instantly.
The book is as ridiculous as it sounds and let me tell you, given the state of the world right now, it is exactly what I needed to slough off the top few layers of grim this last year of politics has left on me. Will Save the Galaxy for Food is that small guilt you allow yourself even though some self-serious and possibly wretched part of yourself tells you you shouldn’t.
The characters aren’t most three-dimensional, but wanting that in a book of satire is like searching out loaves of bread at a butcher shop, it’s just not what we do here. The female characters are not exactly bastions for positive feminist critique, but it’s a deal breaker for something parodying pulp sci-fi stories where female scientist used to be so beautiful as to be distracting to their male counterparts.
Will Save the Galaxy for Food parades out all the old sci-fi tropes, slathers them in rouge and fire-water, and dances around them with a lightheartedness that will make any pulp science fiction reader grin. Unless it doesn’t, in which case I would ask you why, but be utterly unconvinced by whatever your answer was. It’s quick, sarcastic, and overflowing with wit, which right now is exactly the kind of diversion I didn’t know I needed.
“Originally it had had two settings: Stun and Kill. These had proved inadequate against the ridiculously well-armored skin of monsters from particularly rough planets, so I’d found a way to tinker with the built-in limitations. The dial now had a third setting, labeled with the handwritten words ‘Solve All Immediate Problems.” ― Yahtzee Croshaw, Will Save the Galaxy for Food