Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Night the Aliens Went on Strike by Mark White

Published by Obyod Press

I won this book in a fund-raising auction to raise money for the devastated town of Slave Lake, Alberta, whose library was destroyed. Almost the entire town burned down.

Mark White's book is quite humourous and I really enjoyed it. A real curiosity. It's sometime in the future, and noise is the pollution Colin and Tony are following up on as Noise Abatement Officers. Noise abatement is under the Council's Environment Services. The Officers are often put in very dangerous situations. First, they have to enter the home of the complainant to assess the noise level in the apartment there. Then they have to approach the lawbreakers. After tracking down the ditzy and drunk hostess, who is a regular offender in different locations, and her loud aggressive drunk party-goers, they finally extract a promise they will start lowering the volume after threat of ticketing and the next time confiscating their equipment. Noise appears to be a major crime in this earth-time. Immediately they receive a complaint about barking dogs and an extremely bright light in a field in her isolated rural area.

They have a hard time driving then walking in a blizzard out of nowhere to see what the light can be. There shouldn't be anything there. Likewise, the snow shouldn't be getting so deep so fast and it's very odd snow at that. A flash of brilliant light every three minutes and suddenly they wake up in darkness. They are on an alien ship but somehow feel comforted. An argument of some sort seems to reach the edge of their consciousness and they soon learn that they must prove the planet's worth or the world will be destroyed. These two unlikely heroes set off to save the world with Racul, a female alien who has faith in them. She takes on a human form, one of a famous model in fact, and accompanies them while they demonstrate that their job helps make the world a better place. The premise of the book is offbeat, surreal and fun. The threat of annihilation staved off by these two, and the reason why they become acceptable, is genuinely humorous. What will the Collective decide? A far-fetched sci-fi/fantasy that somehow works, I actually enjoyed this romp. You can tell from the title that it is going to offer something a little unusual and it certainly does. This is a short book, a fast read of intergalactic interest and humour.

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