Bastina's Necklace
by Roscoe James, futuristic (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-526-8


No, there is nothing dirty about the title of this story, not that I am accusing you of having your mind in the gutter, of course. For one, Bastina in this story is a planet, so it's not like a planet is capable of doing what you think. This story is not that paranormal.

Bastina is a dying planet. In about twenty years, the sun could very well cause the ice caps of the planet to melt and cause a flood that will wipe out all life from the planet. Therefore, the people of Bastina are currently about to move to a new planet with their enemies, folks from the planet of Aznate. Sounds as good a plan as any, if you ask me, but Princess Anleen is not happy with this plan because this means she will be forced to marry the Prince of Aznate to cement the alliance and this will not do. The planet is dying? Pshaw, she's about to be forced to endure the embrace of an icky brute, which is like ten times worse.

"You! You! You! Thatís all I hear from everyone! You do this! You do that! I'm sick and tired of it! Iím the only twenty-six year old virgin on the whole Haark forsaken planet and all because my father wanted to make sure the Aznate didn't back out on the deal."

"Yes, you. And we all thank Haark for you every night in our chants," her mother sniffed in the elitist fashion most royals used when discarding other people's feelings.

"Druuk isn't all that bad, dear. Really..."

"My Haark, Mother, the man ó No, the thing doesn't even have a cock! He's going to lick his way into me and spit! Spit, mother! Spit into his virgin bride until she writhes in blissful joy and happiness! Then, in six months, a... a... purple thing will come out!"

So Anleen has a plan of her own that will allow her hymen to be safe from icky brutes while she will save everyone at the end of the day. She will steal away in order to pursue a relic that, according to legend, will save her people. Never mind what will happen if the legends are horse crap and her people have lost the means to save themselves - this is all about Anleen after all. Captain Dirk Roberts, fortunately, has the right part - a big one - to appease Anleen, so this dashing swashbucker fellow who fancies himself a pirate will be getting to know Anleen very well soon enough.

This one has much more plot than the previous Galactic League Of Planet book Forever's Not Enough, which is good, while retaining the whole campy 1970s B-grade sci-fi movie feel. Anleen is a useless brat here, a typical bimbo whose best assets are physical rather than intellectual, and of course our dashing Flash Gordon-style hero loves her best that way. Not that this is a bad thing in this story, because Anleen is bratty without becoming too toxic in her stupidity. She is a tolerable and even amusing heroine here, although much of the comedy is at her expense.

What I am trying to say is that there may be a high chance that you will be disappointed with this story if you are expecting a sophisticated science fiction romp. This one is campy, it doesn't take itself seriously, and it actually revels unapologetically in the bimbo nature of the heroine. The hero Dirk is a hoot to read as he joyfully cracks heads and throws himself into danger and his exuberance is infectious. If you treat this one, therefore, as a campy romp with the over the top nature of its most absurd elements being a part of its appeal rather than a flaw, you may enjoy Bastina's Necklace as much as I did.

Rating: 83


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