What is up my lovely little book nerds, it is I, your favourite, distinctively haired blogger! (if you don’t get the reference, I may or may not have caused a minor furore on twitter this week after a customer told me my blue hair wasn’t appropriate to sell books, and the authors of twitter, being the excellent people that they are, rallied and made me feel so much love. Anyway, welcome back, and welcome to my first every blog tour! OMG I know right! I feel like a real blogger! Today is all about one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long, long time, and one I absolutely LOVED so let’s get into it!
(Note: I was sent a copy of Notes from Small Planets by the lovely people at Harper Voyager so I could take part in this book tour and write this review. They didn’t say I had to write nice things about it, but I’m going to because I bloody loved it)
When you open this book, please read the Publisher Note, Author’s Note, and Editor’s Notes at the start. I know thats normally something to skip over, or at least skim read, but these are essential parts to understanding the storyline of Notes from Small Planets. Yes, I said storyline! In a travel guide!
Notes from Small Planets by Nate Crowley describes itself right on the cover as “Your pocket travel guide to the worlds of science fiction and fantasy.” I’ve got to admit, when I first heard about this (from a fellow bookseller and sci-fi nerd) I thought it was literally going to be a guide to the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy, like some kind of adventure manual bouncing from Coruscant to Vulcan by way of Bag End.
I have never been so happy to be wrong.
This is an absolutely joyous spoof of every sci fi and fantasy trope you can imagine. Each chapter is an in-depth look at a different World that you can visit, with each being an absolute pisstake of a different subsection of the genres.
You can visit Mittlevelde (“Its mountains are vast and icy, its woods deep and dark, and its Orcs intimidating yet reassuringly defeated”) or the star filled area known as SPACE (Sector of Pseudofictional Astro-Cultural Environments), each World offering a different array of delights and dangers, and each being expertly – if sometimes a little bit objectively – explored and described by our dashing narrator, journalist, fading television star, and ex-diplomat Floyd Watt. Floyd is best described as a cross between Gilderoy Lockheart and Captain Kirk; cocky, swaggering, easily bought, probably a bit shifty, definitely full of shit, but deep down (deep deep deep deep deep down) has a heart of gold.
He’s a pretty brilliant narrator, giving a lot of personality to his travels, and brilliantly explaining the ins and outs (for the most part) of the different Worlds you can visit. He provided some of the biggest laughs for me as well, especially his discussion of who would win in a fight between
Star Wars and Star Trek The Galaxy’s infamous Sword Monks and The Syndicate’s fleet of Science Dreadnoughts. The footnotes at the bottom of some of the entries are hilarious, especially when you get a bit of back and forth between Floyd and his stressed out editor, Eliza Salt. the arguments between the two of them make for so many fantastic moments and more than once did I get a funny look from an old lady on the bus because I was snort laughing. Well, it was either that or my blue hair, but I’m sure it was because of the snorting…
I genuinely haven’t laughed this much at a book in so long. Every page has something on it that will get at least a little chuckle, but with a lot of belly laughs throughout as well. But, it also deals with some really serious issues like government corruption, colonialism, and racism. It’s light hearted, and you can 100% read it as a straight up satire of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, but there’s some cutting remarks in there as well (mostly provided by Eliza’s frankly flawless put downs of Floyd’s old fashion, alpha male posturing and idiocy – she is my idol and I love her) that make you both laugh and cringe and wince.
If you’re a fan of science fiction or fantasy, or you know someone who is, then you need this book. If you want to laugh at thinly veiled pop culture references, you need this book. If you want to find out whatever happens when you go West, you need this book. (Also, Nate Crowley is property nice person and any twitter interaction with him is 10/10 would recommend, so there’s that too. )
Notes from Small Planets is out on Thursday 17th September (so in two days time) and is available wherever fine books are sold, bartered, or stolen by a rampaging barbarian to bring glory to their hold!
If you’ve liked this one, feel free to say hi on twitter on the comments and tell me what your favourite work of sci-fi. or fantasy it! I have so many, it’s hard to pick. If you want to see whats happening next with the tour, have a look down below at the itinerary, or you can head over here to see Heather’s review!
Notes from Small Planets – Nate Crowley ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
1 Bon voyage in Orcish2
2 Okay so technically it means ‘ready to soar’ but it’s the closest translation I could find!