Earthman Jack vs. the Ghost Planet (The Earthman Jack Space Saga, #1)
Matthew Kadish

Jack Finnegan only has to worry about dealing with school bullies, suffering through detention with his homeroom teacher, and getting noticed by the girl of his dreams… at least until an army of evil aliens invade Earth. Suddenly, this teenage slacker finds himself at the center of a galaxy-spanning conflict – where the lives of everyone on the planet are in jeopardy, soldiers use Quantum Physics to become superheroes, and the enemy uses some mysterious form of magic to make themselves practically unstoppable.

The secret to ending the conflict and saving the universe may lie in a powerful ancient spaceship, which it seems can only be flown by Earthmen. Now, Jack and a rag-tag group of allies must overcome impossible odds, defeat an unkillable enemy, rescue the princess of the galaxy, and save the universe from a threat more terrifying than any it has ever faced.

Can this underachiever rise to the occasion and become the hero Earth needs? The fate of all life in the galaxy may rest in his hands.

Earthman Jack vs. the Ghost Planet (The Earthman Jack Space Saga, #1) book cover

“It was my first date, and the world ends. Go figure.”

This is rather astonishingly good. Kadish set out to create an “everlasting Spielberg movie from the 80’s – filled with excitement, awe, and wonder – that kids, teens, and adults could get lost in whenever it suited them”, and it’s all there. The epic battles, the love angle, good versus evil, inspirational dialogue and scenes that really should be set to sweeping, grand music (the whole of chapter 35, for instance). The extreme cheesiness of evil robots and zombies and the reliance on quantum theory makes this work more endearing in a retro, pulp kind of a way – it’s a less serious Ready Player One, a more sweeping, younger The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

“Okay then!” he said a little too loudly as he clapped his hands together. “I’m, uh, just gonna fly the ship into hyperspace now and try again not to get us all killed.”

It is, to use an inappropriate, time-warn and cliched word … Cool. It seeps sop and oozes a little drivel on occasion, but is very fun, family friendly and has all the hallmarks of something you really shouldn’t feel guilty about reading in your spare time but actually, well, you know…

“Yeah, it’s cool, I’m cool, the spaceship is totally awesome,” said Jack offhandedly. “Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am ready to get the heck out of here.”

More, you ask? Kadish plans 7 in the series, and I’ve certainly sent a few bucks his way. they’ll probably end up going to the government or a milkshake or something, but hey if it keeps the guy writing he can use it to buy some luminous underpants or a 1950’s pulp magazine for inspiration. It’s cool with me. More Jack, though, please, I want to know about that Secret Army!

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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