Jamie Thomson won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for The Dark Lord: The Teenage Years in which a vicious tyrant from a parallel fantasy universe found himself transplanted into the body of a British schoolboy. This eventually ran to three books and now Thomson has set off on a different humorous track which takes a new hero, hapless 14-year-old Harry Greene, into space. Abducted by aliens, Harry soon finds himself in charge of a space ship which he inadvertently names The Fartface Banana Nose. Here he is accompanied by clone alien princesses Alph and Bet, who finish each other’s sentences, and a weird-looking renegade stowaway called the Great Gaggenow, who appears to be the target of the attentions of the entire distant galaxy where Harry is stranded. It seems likely that it may take Harry three books to return to Earth. In this first one, he faces attack by the Leptira, beings that resemble giant Mantis and eat their enemies. He is also the victim of a mutiny and exiled from his ship to a desolate planet. Here he is adopted by Barl, a large three-legged Tricrusian who, through a series of mishaps, is convinced that Harry is his mum. We last see them blasting off from Barl’s home planet in pursuit of The Fartface Banana Nose. Thomson’s previous series drew its humour from the incongruity of the conventions of fantasy adventure and the school story, with a displaced hero whose perceptions of school life were necessarily hilariously distorted. Here, having taken Harry right away from family and friends, Thomson has a lot less to work on. The story isn’t readily identifiable as a parody of other space adventures, although it does feature a computer who’s a bit of a character (pace The Hitchhiker’s Guide… and others). It’s more a genial adventure with jokes about odd-looking aliens. The humour is nowhere near the sophistication you might expect for a reader of the same age as Harry himself (think maybe Terry Pratchett or Philip Reeve). And, along with the cartoons by Jamie Lenman that accompany it, it’s a tale most suited to a 10- or 11-year-old.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2015-01-05 15:47:162021-08-16 15:54:18The Wrong Side of the Galaxy
Illustrator: Jamie Lenman