Tag Archive: aliens


“The other day I was pondering some crazy Japanese game show and I came to the realization that we probably have little hope of understanding an Alien race, because I can’t understand Japanese pop culture at all.”

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(Oh, Internets, how much I love thee!)

Some science fiction books have dozens of characters and giant, space-opera settings. Tony McFadden’s “Have Wormhole, Will Travel” is from the other end of the spectrum: it tells a single story with only six characters and few plot twists.

The premise is definitely original: the aliens live among us, and they’ve been monitoring our scientific development for the past 400 years. Why? Because if we manage to develop space-flight technology, we’d most likely visit their planet and try to conquer it. (Humans don’t have a very good record when it comes to playing well with new neighbors.) The undercover aliens are tasked with sabotaging some of the more dangerous inventions. If that fails, there’s always the nuclear (or gamma, to be precise) option.

The main characters are two aliens that could almost pass for humans if you don’t look hard enough. They live in a suburb of Sydney and stalk a physics professor at the local university. They, in turn, are stalked by three local girls who are convinced they’re vampires.

The “Men in Black in reverse” premise is creative and the book has occasional hilarious gems such as: “the neighbour’s cat, a tabby male with the personality of a permanently pissed off high school teacher” or “You know there are no such things as vampires. The mythology about them has been around for centuries, but they are no more real than the Loch Ness Monster, werewolves or honest politicians.”

The author also knows his science – or knows somebody who does. There’s a brief history of breakthroughs in physics, a basic explanation of the string theory, wormholes, etc. This science fiction book actually pays attention to science!

The book’s plot moves fairly slowly, driven mostly by dialogue where the characters rehash the things the reader already knows. (If you liked the pace of Orson Scott Card’s “Xenocide,” you will love this book.) There isn’t a whole lot of action until the very end. The ending itself is very iffy from the ethical point of view. (Not unlike the ending in the “The Last of Us” video game.) It’s hard to root for the alleged good guys when they substitute one catastrophe for another instead of truly saving the day. Although the author put a fair amount of effort into fleshing out his characters, the “bad guys” in the book don’t seem all that bad and make some valid points.

Overall, this book’s strengths and weaknesses cancel each other out. It would make for some good, slow reading on a rainy day or during a flight, when you just want something amusing to pass the time.

Score: 3 stars

Buy it on Amazon