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Barking mad, but great fun
on 4 May 2010
A very funny, science fiction tale set in 2017 when the Earth is under threat from a distant planet whose peace is being disturbed by Earth's music - but maybe the smart bombs are a bit smarter than those who designed them after all. Great fun.
The blonde bombshell in question in Tom Holt's latest book of that name is Lucy Pavlov. If you are reading this review in 2017 of course you will know who Lucy Pavlov is. She's the beautiful, talented, wealthy, CEO of PaySoft Industries - the revolutionary operating system that is running on every computer in the world. Of course, if that is indeed the case, then we've got a problem. A very big problem. Because what Lucy doesn't know is that she is literally a blonde bombshell - well she knows she's blonde, just not that her body is a shell for a bomb. A very big and a very smart bomb, but nevertheless a bomb. And she's been sent to destroy the planet. It kind of makes Bill Gates seem OK for the time being.
Yes, it's Sci Fi time - but not the fantasy sci fi type. This is very much in the comic sci fi genre. Tom Holt has something of a cult following although I've never read any of the vast list of previous books he's written. On this evidence, I can certainly understand why he is so popular.
Things started off pretty well with Blonde Bombshell - on the third page I was chuckling away at the line "George spent so much time in no fit state that he was entitled to claim it as his domicile for tax purposes".
So, Lucy, basically a computer probe, has been sent by the Ostar (where the canines live and have pet humans including an adolescent human called `Spot') to blow up the Earth in revenge. What could we have done that has so upset the hounds at the other end of the galaxy? Well, it appears that our music is what is disturbing their peace and quiet. And let's face it, if you recall the European space project that sent up strange music from Blurr a few years ago, you can sort of see their point.
The plot is somewhat complicated and convoluted - it manages to somehow take in the odd unicorn and octopus as it goes - but how it plays out is part of the joy of the book so I won't attempt any further explanations here.
Much of the comedy comes from observational humour on the human condition, the cultural references of mankind and our interaction with computers as well as the idea of computers with a moral conscience. He has a fine eye for the absurdities of human behaviour and culture. But he also maintains a strong level of plot development. He has several strands of plot running at the same time and it is far from clear until very late on if, or how, these are going to come together. OK, there might be some gaps in the logic now and then, but this is sci fi, after all.
Blonde Bombshell is an easy to read and frequently very amusing book. It would be a fantastic holiday and it's great escapism.
And dog-owners would be well advised to be particularly nice to their pets after reading this book - you never know if they are passing information about you back to their home planet!