Every so often, a book comes along with a title that demands your attention; one that grabs you and plasters a smile across your face. Spectacular Silver Earthling, by Mara Lynn Johnston, is one of those books. Coupled with a cover of the titular spectacular silver earthling riding a creature with a passing resemblance to a pterodactyl as people try to restrain it as others film the chaos, something as hilarious as it is reminiscent of retro science fiction covers, this is a book that beckons to be read.
As the adage goes, you should never judge a book by its cover, and just as important, you should never judge a book by its title. It’s all those words that come after the title and cover that matter, after all. Still smiling about these two aspects when I started reading the book, I was happy to see that smile remained on my face as I started reading the book, and it remained on my face until the very end. If I were to sum up Spectacular Silver Earthling in one word, it would be “fun.” That would make for an incredibly short review, but the description is beautifully apt: whether it’s the characters, the plot, the world or the humour, this is an absolute joy to read, told with a freewheeling nature that embraces a sense of fun throughout.
Set somewhere in the future, where humanity has not only taken to the stars, but now televises those stars with intergalactic wildlife shows, through its 298 paperback pages (or its estimated 350 pages on your eReader of choice), Spectacular Silver Earthling tells the story of Hubcap, an egotistical robot and host of one of said shows. In order to keep his show’s sponsors happy and ensure his TV series—and career—can continue, Hubcap and his crew need to film footage that will captivate the audience at home. They embark on an adventure that sees them exploring mysterious areas and coming into contact with alien species.
The humour throughout Spectacular Silver Earthling runs through its characters and the snark they bring to the situations they find themselves in. This book is funny, and the comedy Johnstone has brought to this world is successful throughout the book’s entirety. It is filled with amusing descriptions, one-liners, and constantly enjoyable banter between the characters.
The banter between the book’s characters is an absolute joy. It moves at a rapid-fire pace with the characters bouncing off one another in their conversations. Hubcap is a larger-than-life character with an ego to match it, yet, through this humour (and despite him not being human), he remains relatable. The other characters in Spectacular Silver Earthling are dialled down a notch or two from Hubcap, but still shine brightly. While Hubcap is undoubtedly the protagonist, the remainder of the cast (which is quite sizable) all get their due, including great dialogue, character beats and memorable moments.
Given all the banter included in the book, dialogue plays a huge part in Spectacular Silver Human. This is a very dialogue-heavy book, with its characters constantly bouncing off one another. If you prefer dialogue in books to be sparse, you may find yourself somewhat disappointed by the constant back and forth between characters, but if you enjoy reading plenty of dialogue as the characters verbally spar with one another, you’ll be delighted—I definitely find myself in the latter camp. The dialogue is full of wit, and all the characters sound distinct from one another, with their own unique way of speaking, whether they be robot, human, or alien.
The science fiction elements in Spectacular Silver Earthling are great, whether it’s in relation to the alien world surrounding the characters, its creatures, or the aliens. Throughout the novel, Johnstone presents these uniquely, whether they are alien worlds, or creatures who speak through colour. These are written with a sense of majesty and wonder, while grounded enough that these elements all feel like they could exist somewhere within this universe.
As dialogue-heavy as Spectacular Silver Earthling is, the author uses prose effectively throughout the book. In scenes filled predominantly with conversations between characters, this is used sparingly, but manages to convey all the necessary information about the characters and the setting. Here, the prose uses its words economically, doing more to illuminate its happenings with fewer words. In scenes where there isn’t as much dialogue, Johnstone paints the world in lush, vivid detail that paints a wonderful picture in the reader’s mind’s eye.
Whether it’s poking fun at television or exploring alien worlds, Spectacular Silver Human brings a sense of joyous fun with it. Its protagonist, Hubcap brings with him a snarky sense of humour, which he uses to bounce off the other characters beautifully. If you enjoy humour novels or science fiction, you’ll find a thoroughly enjoyable book. If you’re a fan of both genres, you’ll find Spectacular Silver Human infuses these brilliantly, creating a truly unique reading experience.
“All right!” Hubcap exclaimed. “Come meatheads, eat your fuel later!” He clapped metal hands at the three at the snack table. “If we get out there fast, there’s a good chance we’ll get to see an epic fight between an ankle-biting beastie, and maybe even a decapitation with a shovel. C’mon!”Spectacular Silver Earthling, Chapter 12
Spectacular Silver Earthling was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review.
Spectacular Silver Earthling is available in both physical and eBook forms from book retailers (including—but not limited to—Amazon).
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