Starship Grifters is one of the funniest things I’ve ever experienced. It is certainly the funniest book I’ve read.
As a science fiction humor story, comparisons to other science fiction humor stories is inevitable. So how does it compare to the oft-touted science fiction humor novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? It is MUCH funnier than Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But, in my opinion, that’s also a very low bar. Robert Kroese has no regard for that bar and instead makes his own bar and beats other bars with his new bar until they ask him politely to stop. Writing comedy is difficult. My experience with humor stories is that they start off strong, but the hilarity tends to fade quickly. Robert Kroese conquers this problem magnificently, and Starship Grifters remained consistently funny throughout.
The protagonist Rex Nihilo is an absurd character who continuously (and miraculously) rolls 20s on every charisma check. The plot revolves around Rex trying to get out of massive debt. En route, Nihilo faces off against an evil galactic empire, a rebellion based in a car park, and Space Apostles who appear out of nowhere. Kroese tips over many sacred cows with finesse and without being coarse, vulgar, or insulting to his readers. Modern comedy writers should take a note. Or several. Star Wars gets several jabs. Bureaucracy, usury, corporatism, stale tropes, and likely many things I didn’t pick up on get jabs. But all of this is done without getting bogged down in painful, unwanted Pop Culture ™ references. Yay! The only thing remotely bog-related is the forest moon, which is mostly swamp.
Memorable characters abound. From the narrator robot Sasha to the beautiful and… er… impressive bounty hunter Pepper and gibberish-spouting Ted there’s a lot to love. Perhaps most memorable is the villainous Heinous Vlaak who seemed to me to be a ridiculous combination of every 1980s dystopian gang lord I’ve ever seen (complete with outlandish outfit and wraparound sunglasses) and Skeletor.
Who would enjoy this? Fans of Larry Correia’s The Adventures of Tom Stranger certainly. Fans of Star Wars spoofs like Spaceballs would also find immense enjoyment within this books many text-filled pages. Who won’t enjoy this? People without a sense of humor will hate it. People who are fans of massive debt and bureaucracy might be offended as well.
In any case this book comes very highly recommended. I do not recommend reading it while eating, however, as there is a distinct danger of choking on said food from laughter. Er… don’t ask.
Buy your copy here!