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I’m a big fan of SF comedy, because it is so hard to do, but when it is done well, it is great fun to read. The two most obvious examples are The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and the Red Dwarf novels. The great things about these novels (and SF comedy in general) is that they extrapolate upon the conventional here and now setting while they point of the farces of the here and now. This, in a nutshell, is what The First Neanderthal on the Moon is all about.

Let me state up front this book is VERY unconventional, and readers are likely to either really enjoy it or hate it. Collected in this short ebook are a series of essays about how our perception of history isn’t quite what we think it is, with recounts of twin brothers who resembled Stalin on the run through 1950s Soviet Union, waring Neanderthals inventing the catapult before the wheel, the problems faced by the deities the Greek Underworld, unconventional perspectives on energy, and so forth.

There are nice scientific ideas spread like seeds through the narrative, and I like the way each story ties in with each other. I found myself laughing out loud in places, and I liked the wacky viewpoints, but boy was it weird. Like I said, you’ll either like or hate it.

I think the biggest problem was that these stories were merely essays, and I think Roderick MacDonald would have been better suited if he’d written stories with characters, dialogue, a plot and action. I felt there were a multitude of seeds in here for something really great. Conversations between Neanderthals and alien invaders could have really created some fascinating Life of Brian moments.

Roderick MacDonald says on his book promo he’s writing a new book. I will be intrigued to see what he produces, because this guy know his history and science, and knows how to see the funny side of life.

 

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David Conyers

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