Book Title: Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet
Author: Philip Harris
Publication Date: Aug. 22, 2015
Available On: Amazon as an eBook, a paperback and as an audiobook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
“Glitch” Mitchell is a science fiction fan and he wrote an essay to enter a contest. When he wins, along with several others, they get to visit a NASA installation to see a scientific wonder. What they witness is NASA’s latest discovery, a portal leading to somewhere, though they don’t know what’s on the other side. Yet. But a mysterious saboteur named Smith damages the gateway, abducts Dr. Grace Zheng, one of the scientists, and jumps through the portal.
When Glitch and Air Force Captain Scarlett Anderson get sucked into the portal, their adventures on a mysterious planet begin and the mystery deepens. What is Smith’s nefarious scheme and what is he doing on the alien planet? Glitch and his intrepid team are doing their best to survive each obstacle the alien planet throws at them. But with Earth’s survival at stake, will they be able to stop Smith in time?
Every chapter is filled with one outrageous cliffhanger after another and it’s almost always a life or death situation. Imitating the style of the serials from the 1930s, especially “Flash Gordon”, you get recaps at the beginning of each chapter and when you read it, it’s as if you can “hear” it like a narrator is speaking to the television viewer, dramatically recapping each “episode”.
As our heroes pull themselves in and out of one scrape after another, it reaches the end of the chapter, which is always a figurative cliffhanger (and even a literal one as well in one chapter). They meet all sorts of strange beings, such as rock monsters, tentacled creatures, metallic crabs, mysterious aliens, winged predators, underground dwellers and more. I was delighted by the sheer variety of creatures!
I also enjoyed the different death-defying feats Glitch and his friends had to perform to solve the different problems they faced. The story is outrageous and zany with each conundrum they find themselves caught up in, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.
The settings we see in each scene depicted in the novel feel like something out of a black and white old-fashioned serial. Glowing orbs, a cheap low-tech look, electronics filled with lots of flashing lights, gadgets, energy beams, bright colors, and lasers. But it also feels extraordinary, otherworldly and unusual, even though it feels like a television “show” produced on a tight budget.
The mood is very tongue-in-cheek yet deadly serious at the same time, making it a perfect blend of comedy, action, and drama. The serial style it emulates both matches the roller coaster flying by the seat of your pants feeling while also elevating the story above its source material. It perfectly captures the sense of wonder that Glitch experiences with each new situation he faces as well.
It’s also very referential of science fiction and pop culture in general. This is especially apparent when it includes one laugh out loud moment right out of Scooby-Doo that you will recognize when you read it.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable and highly entertaining novel which presents one thrill ride after another. I rocketed through the chapters, as each one compelled me to read onwards to see what would happen next. It’s an extremely effective style that’s highly difficult to put down. But why would you want to? It’s an exciting and fun-filled serial, perfectly translated into a book format that never slows down and never lets you catch a breath until you’ve turned the final page and reached the conclusion.
If you enjoyed this novel, do yourself a favor, go check out the author’s follow up to this one, a short story called “Glitch Mitchell and the Island of Terror“. You’ll be glad you did, as it is written in the same fun style. My review for that short story can be found here.
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