Honest, The Martian Ate Your Dog
by Fahim Farook, fantasy (2006)
Lulu, $15.00, ISBN 978-955-50-2230-9


I will just let the synopsis provided by the publicity to let you know what the story of Honest, The Martian Ate Your Dog is, because I believe it sums up the story better than I could:

A man on the run from his wife's wrath after selling her dog. A dozen crash-landed bounty hunter clones. An alien on the tracks of the man who scammed him. An intergalactic detective looking for a mysterious artefact. Above all, a world which is familiar but yet is slightly off - legalized bribery, cities run by gangsters, mysterious sects which believe in the power of jokes. This is the story of Normal Kint and Johnny Goolbhai the android, who are determined to get to Kabul City despite highwaymen, scheming opponents and the occasional cop on the take.

This one sees the author doing what some folks would call breaking the fourth wall in his story. The audience is deliberately provided footnotes that explain various situations better and there is a very strong nudge-wink vibe coming from the writing. While I certainly appreciate and enjoy many inventive aspects of this zany science-fiction comedy, I confess that I find the whole nudge-wink-see-I-made-a-joke style of the author somewhat tiresome after a while. I wish he'll just relax and tell me his story instead of trying so hard to tell a really good joke. The humor here isn't that bad - I find the story pretty funny at various places - but the author's insistence on intruding into his story makes the story as much about him as it is about Normal Kint's zany adventures on the way to Kabul City.

Honest, The Martian Ate Your Dog therefore doesn't completely work for me from its technical standpoint. I am not enamored of Mr Farook's attempts to insert himself or the reader into the story. It will be interesting to see what he will come up with should he try not so hard to become the new Douglas Adams and let the story flow naturally without all that ornamental "Look at me! I'm the author and I have this joke you have to hear!" trappings, but as for this book, it's interesting, yes, but not what I'd consider my cup of tea.

Rating: 60


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