Title:
Cargo Cult
By:
Graham Storrs
Pages:
413
Rating:
4

When a Vinggan ship crash-lands on the uncharted planet Earth, the marooned survivors – twelve religious zealots, their leader, and a single, low-ranking
crewman, called Drukk – decide to make the best of it by converting humanity to their rather authoritarian religion. Inadvertently disguised as megastar
actress Loosi Beecham, they set off to begin their evangelical mission.

And that’s when things really begin to go wrong. For their crash was not all it seemed, interstellar law enforcement is on their tail, and the humans are
inexplicably strange – especially the busload of old folk they make off with, the New Age cargo cult that welcomes them, the local police force that is
following them around, and an overambitious reporter and her idiot brother who don’t help matters by kidnapping crewman Drukk.

Oh, and did I mention the talking kangaroos?

Only Drukk finally begins to understand what is really going on, but by then the Vinggans have unwittingly carted dozens of humans off-world and the only
plan anyone can come up with to get home again is complete and utter insanity.

Cargo Cult book cover

Humour is a very particular topic, so I must admit to a little trepidation when I heard about this novel. Graham’s sci-fi thrillers are electrifying and amazing, and his provocative and futuristic short stories hold much food for thought. How, then, would a comedy stack up?

Well, let’s get the bad out of the way first. Not bad, really, but the only negation here for me was that the novel focuses (perfectly understandably of course) on Australia, and so a little of the dialogue was unusual. But that really is the only thing to detract from what was, really, a fun romp of a story with a lot to offer.

The good points (and they are legion) , the aliens were absolutely delightful, the spaceship included. It’s a very modern way of doing science fiction comedy which still works and holds the charm of something along the lines of Douglas Adams. The parody of government, and attitude of law enforcement was funny, and the religion used in a clever way to fill the story out.

Though a comedy, there’s a lot here to take in with links to serious issues as well, it’s all handled deftly and amusingly. The ending was absolutely superb, and there’s certainly scope for more novels in this universe.

Whilst I personally prefer the more serious science fiction, this comedy debut shows Graham Storrs has a warm, appealing, and sharply-defined sense of humour. I believe this one will be delighting for years to come.

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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