Reviews

Reviews for books in the Skidian Chronicles series.

The Colonists

The Colonists is the fourth and, in many ways, the finest of the Skidian Chronicles. Despite having intermittent doubts about the sincerity and agenda of the Transcendents, Bruce, our anti-hero, continues to feel responsible for the success of the Mars For You mission and the experiences of the reluctant Colonists as they find themselves on a planet far far away from the galaxy they called home.

I found the Colonists the most interesting of the Chronicals to read to date in that the characters are now more fully developed, their motivations and inter-relationships both play out and challenge current stereotypes, and the politics of the worlds they inhabit provide a few laugh-out-loud moments given our current state on Planet Earth. At one point I felt myself silently championing Bruce to take up the reins and make a run for president of the world. I don't think he has any such aspirations sadly even though he's convinced he understands all our failings, but it would be a laugh. Although he thinks he knows what he's doing, Bruce is a bit of a drop-kick when it comes to his relationships with women and with navigating the course of his blended inter-galactic family.

A few of the author's literary devices distracted a little from my enjoyment (some of the repetition, the inconsistent treatment of the Transcendents as both a collective and singular noun). But all in all a most enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and to finding out whether those leftie policies pursued by Chump's masters bring peace on earth, and how our Colonists adjust to their new lives. Still waiting for the movie.

The Lifeboat

#1

This has been my favourite read from the Skidian Chronicals. The plot is rich and interesting with plenty of chuckles given the parallels with current world politics and indeed, parallels to politicians from all facets of life. Introducing the ultimate puppet masters, the Transcendants, the Lifeboat goes further to explaining our world history and our parallel off-world history. If you've ever worked in large organisations, or with systems and processes, you will enjoy the pragmatism and insights of our anti-hero Bruce. My only complaint is that the characters haven't developed over the series as fully as the plot has - Sue remains a cartoon fish wife (inexplicably absent in body and mind from her child for most of the story), Bruce the laconic passive aggressive (which doesn't seem to fit with his insightfulness in other ways), the Skidians are blank canvases despite Leaf's occasional show of energy and purpose... and Little Bruce is the most unobtrusive toddler prop ever spawned. Still, despite these frustrations, The Lifeboat is an entertaining and thought provoking read. Something like a cross between the Matrix and Goodbye Pork Pie?

The Second Coming

#1

The Second Coming by Keith Fenwick is a next-in-series title about several different people whose stories are in some way related, but if you are just coming in you don't quite know how. Sue and Bruce are normal, everyday Earthlings... mostly. Sue, who owns a travel agency, is somehow pregnant when she hasn't had a sexual partner in a very long time. Her best guess is immaculate conception.

Bruce, on the other hand, is a bit of a foul mouthed, rugged loner living off the land. He feels that something is missing--a chunk of his life perhaps.

On the other hand, Mitch, a third Earth personality (and the United States President), was experiencing no abnormality in his life before a spaceship landed in an American military airplane hangar after a little airspace encroachment, battle, and chase. The alien flying that craft is Myfair, the happenstance ruler of a mostly unknown planet, Skid--the most advanced planet in the universe.

In the wake of a mind-blowing apocalypse on his planet caused by a malfunctioning computer intelligence charged with making Skidian life as easy as possible, Myfair was simply traversing the deep, not looking for anything in particular, when he accidentally stumbled upon Earth, violating American airspace and instigating a dogfight in the process. The skirmish caused him to lose control and scrape his ship across a range of mountains, forcing him to find a place to land. A secured military base is as good a place as any, wouldn't you think?

Skid- The First Chronicle

#1

This is an original, thought provoking book that considers the direction technological advancements could head towards in the future and what affect this could have on the human race. It explores the theory of technology effectively becoming more intelligent than humans, without humans really realising it, which I found highly interesting, somewhat alarming and very relevant in the current climate. The relationship between Bruce and Sue explores the human need for companionship particular when thrown into an unfamiliar environment, even between two people who have very little in common and would not normally cross paths. Their interactions are funny and refreshing and show a collision of culture even between an American and a Kiwi.

 The ‘Kiwi’ twist made visualising the book easy and I felt familiarity and comradery particularly with Bruce. I look forward to continuing with the rest of the series and seeing the writing of this new author develop. Well worth the read.

#2

Skid is the first novel in a trilogy of Skidian Chronicles . An imaginative and original plot which sees Bruce, a classic kiwi bloke, along with his three farm dogs, transported to the planet Skid in a distant solar system by the leader of an over-evolved society which has forgotten the value of work. In their quest to find experts who can re-acquaint them with the processes of food production, the Skidians also collect Sue, a young American travel agent. Over time Bruce and Sue learn to make the best of their new environment, vocations and each other, though the results fall short of both the human and Skidian expectations. The story moves as quickly as Sue's erratic emotions and Bruce's insights into the Skidian character. With lashings of humour and philosophy Skid is a fun and fascinating read, perhaps wandering in the footsteps of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Red Dwarf, just waiting for a brave American film studio to snap up the film rights and rescue Mr Fenwick from his day job.

#3

Skid - The First Chronicle is a fast-moving and entertaining yet cautionary tale of the end result of over-reliance on technology. Bruce, not a hero in the truest sense, a semi-loner from a rural part of New Zealand is abducted and whisked away to Skid, a planet far, far away, along with Sue, a travel guide from Portland. Skid is the be-all and end-all of social and technological development. So much so that the Skidians have lost all knowledge of the most basic skills, like growing food. Bruce's adjustment to their ossified social code and utter incompetence allows him to succeed where they have completely failed. However, their self-image is so skewed from reality that they cannot comprehend the gift he is offering.

The relationship between Bruce and Sue is complicated but they make the best of it. Bruce tries to befriend some members of the Skidian upper class but they do not have the capacity to reach out and make the connection. Mr. Fenwick selectively skewers all manners of high society affect with ease. It is an amusing and easy read and I highly recommend it.