Published by 47North on May 6, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
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A space-faring ne'er-do-well with more bravado than brains, Rex Nihilo plies the known universe in a tireless quest for his own personal gain. But when he fleeces a wealthy weapons dealer in a high-stakes poker game, he ends up winning a worthless planet - and owing an outstanding debt more vast than space itself!
The only way for Rex to escape a lifetime of torture on the prison world Gulagatraz is to score a big payday by pulling off his biggest scam. But getting mixed up in the struggle between the tyrannical Malarchian Empire and the plucky rebels of the Revolting Front - and trying to double-cross them both - may be his biggest mistake. Luckily for Rex, his frustrated but faithful robot sidekick has the cyber-smarts to deal with buxom bounty hunters, pudgy princesses, overbearing overlords, and interstellar evangelists - while still keeping Rex's martini glass filled.
Though I’m not terribly well-versed in it, I love watching sci-fi. But I find that I rarely read it. That’s something I’ve been wanting to remedy, and Starship Grifters sounded too fantastic to pass up (plus, I’m always up for a good space adventure).
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by information overload when reading sci-fi (and definitely when reading fantasy, which is why I typically avoid it). In trying to take in the characters and their world, I lose my bearings – and let’s be honest, my patience – wading through a multitude of unfamiliar connections and difficult-to-pronounce names. That was not the case here at all. Page after page keep me laughing and wanting to continue the adventure. I was reminded that reading sci-fi can be effortless and fun.
Rex and Sasha are an odd couple pairing on par with Lister and Rimmer from Red Dwarf (a BBC sci-fi comedy series from the ’80s and ’90s). Seriously, Kroese should have been a writer for that show. I could hear the laugh track as I read! I’ve seen other reviews which praise Kroese’s numerous references to so many sci-fi tropes. Unfortunately, being the n00b sci-fi consumer that I am, I probably missed 95% of those. It didn’t matter. Starship Grifters is hilarious and exciting, no training required.