Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by GJ Koch
Review by Jasper de Joode
Captain Alexander Outland of the Sixty-Nine (short for Space vessel 3369, of course) is the best pilot in the galaxy. He’s also a pirate, smuggler, and loved and loathed by women in umpteen solar systems. His crew of strays and misfits includes and engineer of dubious sanity, a deposed planetary governor, an annoyingly unflappable Sexbot copilot, and a slinky weapons chief who stubbornly refuses to give the captain a tumble.
Outland just wants to make a decent living skirting the law, but when an invisible space armada starts cutting into his business, he soon finds himself in hot water with the military, the mob, mad bombers, and an extended family of would be conquerors. And that’s not counting the occasionally telepathic spy.
Like any sensible scoundrel, he hates heroics. They’re risky and they don’t pay well. But to keep his ship and crew in one piece, and make time with a certain hard-to-get weapons chief he might have to make an exception – and save the galaxy in spite of himself!
Alexander Outland: Space Pirate is written by Gini Koch, author of the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series under the pen-name of G.J. Koch. Though both books feature a science fiction theme, they are completely different. One thing that they do have in common is the right humorous setting. Featuring a highly enjoyable main character.
Just to get the setting right here is an excerpt: She rolled her eyes. “Yes, I did hear that you didn’t have any problems with a small ego.”
“Let me assure you – nothing’s small on the Outland”
“You actually refer to yourself as ‘the Outland’?”
“Amazing isn’t it?” the Governor said.
And this is the general tone throughout the book. This brings me directly to Alexander and his crew. Alexander is one of those character that was directly to my liking, his personality and his witty and womanising comments were laugh aloud moments. Actually looking back to his character he is the combination of Eli Monpress (The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron) and Archibald Enfield (Hats off to Brandenburg by Graham Thomas). He has the scheming of Eli but the charms of Archie and the wittiness of both! As you get to know Alexander, he is quite the woman’s men but he cannot seem to get the heart he truly desires. That of Slinkie, the only woman of his crew. But he tries and in his perseverance he goes to many lengths to get a shot, and often in his humorous attempts he does not succeed. Next to the being the womaniser he is great in all the other stuff he does: he is smart, diplomatic, the best pilot in the galaxy. However in a small paragraph there is reflection on that his tutors in the space academy said that he would fail in etc, I think that this led to the Alexander Outland we see in the book. Always trying to better himself. And similar to the characters that have the scheming personality, when push comes to shove Alexander Outland cares as much for each and every member of his crew.
As for the other members of his crew. They are not your normal deep space crew. They are either outcasts, exiled or have fled. In this, each character has been given a nice and unique background. Slinkie for example has quite an background which only became evident in the later parts of the books. As for the Governor, he is directly in league with Alexander on certain parts and they have quite the history together. That leaves only the slightly dimwitted engineer Randolph, who Alexander took under his wing, he is a bit silent throughout the story but very smart and gives Audrey the ships AI and nice introduction into the storyline. Using this crafty rag-tag selection of crew combined with Alexander make the dialogue brilliant. The overall tone of this book is very humorous and Alexander and his crew go from action scene to action scene and there is hardly time to catch your breath. In this great rollicking adventure the depth of the characters are somewhat left behind but that did not bother me at all. The intention of this book is to provide a lively, space story and it delivered fully on that front.
Most of the action is seen on the planet of Herion, where Alexander and his crew are forced to flee to. In their adventures on the planet Herion Alexander and his crew are faced with more than enough twists and turns to keep everything pretty lively. Though there is not that strong a plot developing in the beginning of the book, after certain encounters and action-packed events the plot slowly starts to reveal itself. And fully takes off when Alexander launches into space again. Being confronted by the pirate armada and the Herion Battle fleet at the same time. This gave for a satisfied feeling in terms of a great romp of humour and space adventure with a unexpected ending. And what would Alexander be without bailing out with an spectacular escape? Alexander Outland: Space Pirate went above my expectations. If you are looking for a great humorous space story, pick up this book!
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