Whether you want to find the best place for a bite of eel on Spume or discover why you should never miss Kangaroo Court on Wasteland you will have everything you need in this handy travel guide to all the must-see destinations our world of science fiction has to offer.
Thank you to Harper Voyager and Nate Crowley for sending me an advanced copy of this new release! It has been published today (17th September) and is available at all good booksellers.
I cannot possibly start this review without commenting on the beautiful cover that combines all the iconic depictions we associate with classic science fiction stories and colouring that just instantly draws your eye. Similarly the internal format of this fantasy travel guide makes it all the more easy to read, dedicated sections for what not to miss, when to visit and which locals to avoid made this so enjoyable. We also love to see a good literary map, who doesn't? Notes From Small Planets doesn't disappoint and offers a selection of (eerily familiar) maps to feast your eyes upon to give you a better view into the worlds travelled.
For more of the good stuff you only need to start reading the introduction by Flyod Watt. There is no other way to say it than the following; Crowley's writing is hilarious. Full stop. The combined rapport and banter between Eliza and Flyod drew me in from the beginning, and throughout their footnotes they added even more humour on top of what Crowley has already put forward in the travel guides for each world. Some background knowledge in sci-fi worlds is helpful when reading this, it would definitely make an excellent gift for the seasoned sci-fi and fantasy reader.
This is a parody of both the usual clichés in sci-fi world building and the in-depth detail provided by travel guides but scratching under the surface reveals so much more. Science fiction has been a popular genre for generations, Notes From Small Planets picks up on the usual plot lines, characters and worlds we have come to love and points out the glaringly obvious, we have been reading the same story over and over but with a different change of clothes. What I like though, is that Crowley points out something else at the same time; we love to read these stories over and over. Although there are silly clichés to deal with we wouldn't change the genre for all it's worth and the collection of all it's variations in Notes From Small Planets jut goes to show the beauty in these far off worlds.
Reading something that takes a satirical view of a favoured topic or genre isn't for everyone but Crowley manages to find the perfect balance of flattery and teasing and creates a hilarious collection of travel tips for any fantasy traveller.