Book Review – Used Aliens by M. Sid Kelly

Used AliensTitle: Used Aliens
Author: M. Sid Kelly
Publisher: M. Sid Kelly
First Published:
Science Fiction/Humor

The story begins with Jimmy Fresneaux. He wants to be the star of a fishing show. Unfortunately, he’s not very good at catching fish. This matters not at all to the aliens that abduct him. They just need to gather a few specimens and conduct some tests as part of their evaluation of Earth for entry in the Galactic Pool. They’re supposed to throw him back when they’re done, but a mishap leaves Jimmy and two of the aliens (along with their sunken flying saucer) on Earth.

That’s part of the story. The rest has to do with why Earth is being evaluated.

It’s kind of political.

This is humorous science fiction romp with a fair amount of cultural satire. The human characters are funny in a buffoonish sort of way. Jimmy is believable as a mentally uncomplicated Cajun wannabe. Mike and Greg, two fossil hunting hobbyists, are a bit less believable. They are portrayed as having some serious scientific interests and knowledge but seem to be forcing themselves to sound more stupid and juvenile than they are, mainly by saying “man” and “dude” a lot. I don’t think they needed to be written this way. Jimmy is fine as a lone clown. Three stooges are not necessary. Mike and Greg might work better as supporting characters if they were written as nerdy straight men.

I loved the aliens. They are imaginative, and the ‘good’ ones are quite likeable. Dluhosh (an evolved squid), Dee (a hug-loving bear person), and Trukk-9 (a highly ethical filmmaker with a large number of eyes) are especially endearing. The ‘bad’ aliens are more dim and incompetent than they are evil. I liked that. They’re much easier to laugh at.

The story is written in third person with a shifting point of view. The prose is casual, complete with split infinitives and colloquialisms. The writing style reminds you that this story is not to be taken seriously. It’s meant to be fun, and it is.

I have found that ‘indie’ books often provide something that traditional publishers do not—well-written stories that don’t easily fit into established genres, that defy stereotypes, and that make no effort to follow the currently popular trends—in other words, stories that are truly fresh and different. This is a good example. On the surface, it is a science fiction farce with comic characters, but it also offers insightful satire, intelligent wit, an imaginative setting, unique aliens, and even a bit of real science. How many books like that have your read recently? If there were any, I’ll bet they were ‘indie.’

I found this quirky book enjoyable. I recommend it to humor fans with a scientific outlook. If you’ve read and enjoyed Douglas Adam’s ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ stories, the ‘Red Dwarf’ books by Grant Naylor, the ‘Stainless Steel Rat’ books by Harry Harrison, or Spider Robinson’s ‘Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon’ stories, you may also like ‘Used Aliens’ by M. Sid Kelly. It’s not quite like any of these, but there are a few similarities in places.


About Dave

A reader and writer of speculative fiction. See my website for more information on me and my writing.

Posted on March 6, 2013, in Speculative Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I enjoyed your review of Used Aliens. It reaffirms my initial impression of the book and I’m sufficiently inspired to pick it up again tonight. A well considered review is a service to readers and authors alike. Thanks.

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