After a detour into serious territory with Schrodinger’s Gat and Into the Dark, author Rob Kroese is back with another humorous novel, titled Starship Grifters. This sci-fi romp, starring the charming rogue Rex Nihilo (great name, by the way) and his long-suffering robot sidekick Sasha, is a gleeful parody of the classic Star Wars story. Picture Nihilo as Han Solo without the moral code, and Sasha as a sarcastic C-3PO who knows her boss is an idiot.
The story starts with Nihilo winning a planet in a card game, which soon puts him in the crosshairs of both the Malarchian Empire and the plucky Rebels who oppose them. Rex being Rex, quickly concocts a plan to sell both sides out and cash in big time. What could possibly go wrong, aside from EVERYTHING?
Fans of Kroese’s Mercury series will find a lot to love in Starship Grifters. Unlike that series though, which had a fairly serious story underneath the humor and glorious sarcasm, Starship Grifters is pretty light-hearted. The story is ridiculous, but that’s kind of the point. It’s a vehicle for tons of sci-fi in-jokes (like the Empire’s planet-killing Peace Fortress), and it’s laugh out loud funny. The supporting cast is a major highlight, especially given Rex’s (intentional) one-dimensionality, and let Kroese play around with some treasured Star Wars archetypes. It will be interesting to see where Kroese takes these characters. Starship Grifters is perfect as a stand-alone Star Wars parody, but the twist at the end makes additional adventures an intriguing possibility.
This is really fun, really funny stuff. Obviously fans of Kroese’s other humorous works are going to love it, but Starship Grifters should also appeal to anyone who enjoys Christopher Moore, Douglas Adams, Star Wars, MST3K and the ancient art of sarcasm.
Disclosure: I was give an electronic copy of this book by the author for review. Don't tell him, but I'd have bought it anyway.