Book Title: Adventures of Mazaru, The Space Monkey Pirate
Author: Lyndon Perry
Publication Date: Jan 12, 2018
Available on: Amazon as an eBook
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Mazaru is a reformed space monkey pirate who’s turned over a new leaf and flying around space with his old friend Ed Drake. As they travel in their long-haul freighter called The Bullet, they go through a series of (mis)adventures as they take on new freight and deal with one mishap after another.
When Mazaru is called to testify before the Grand High Council about a crime committed by an emperor, Mazaru is resistant to do so, even though it would help an entire sector of space. Then, Ed brings him to tour a primate prison to help deter him against going back to his former life. But when his former paramour Shizaru enters his life again, it gets more complicated and shenanigans ensue. Finally, when Jazumbi, King of the Monkey Pirates, calls upon both of them for help, what will they do?
Mazaru is a smart monkey overall though he certainly has his foibles. He doesn’t understand human idioms and just like some humans, he can’t hold his liquor well either. He can also be blinded by old flames whom he’s still attracted to.
Overall, he has a checkered past as a former monkey pirate and that’s something he struggles with. As he crosses paths with Shizaru, it only reminds him of old times. But there is a clear character arc for him from the first tale to the last and how tries to learn from past mistakes.
I also liked how Captain Ed Drake is a faithful friend to Mazaru. It’s sweet and kind, demonstrating how much Ed cares about him and how invested he is in Mazaru’s ability to walk the straight and narrow path. Ed also demonstrates how thoughtful he can be. I appreciated his intelligence and how he pulled off some pretty clever moves, especially in the latter part of this collection. Those kinds of plot twists make for unpredictable reading.
If any of this sounds too dark, please keep in mind that this is a gentle comedy. It’s good-hearted fun with some large stakes that are played for pretty funny laughs. It doesn’t take itself too seriously at all and is quite entertaining. There are some amusing riffs on classic monkey jokes, particularly the second story about the monkeys on a prison planet, which has a great payoff to it. And you can’t do a monkey story without using the sight gag of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. I laughed heartily at how it was used here.
Humor can be pretty subjective to each individual but I was delighted by this collection from beginning to end. It has a certain charm and plenty of wit to it. I found it perfectly channeled the spirit of some classic monkey comedy movies, such as Clint Eastwood ‘s “Every Which Way but Loose” or Ronald Reagan’s “Bedtime for Bonzo”.
I read a lot of science fiction and some of it can be of the doom and gloom variety and vary in page count. This is a collection of five interconnected short fiction pieces that when put together, it forms a larger narrative with an overarching plot. As a result, I found it to be refreshing and also the perfect antidote for some of the longer dystopian fiction that I’ve read.
I’ve read this author before and always found his storytelling style to be pleasurable and satisfying. Science fiction comedy can be a difficult genre to write in, but the author has a lot of fun with the concept. I always appreciate this kind of story when it’s done well and the author hits all the right notes here.
In the afterword, the author explains that these tales are “space opera lite” and that is a perfect description of them. It’s easy to get swept up in these tales, as they’re lighthearted, whimsical and always put a smile on my face. It’s a quick and breezy read that just made me grin from ear to ear as I read each one. Go ahead and try some funny monkey humor that happens to take place in space. I think you’ll enjoy it as I did, as it’s monkey business done right.
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