Blonde Bombshell by Tom Holt

The third planet out from the star was blue, with green splodges. Dirt. Oh, the bomb thought. And then its courage, determination and nobility-of-spirit subroutines cut in, overriding everything else, adrenalizing its command functions and bypassing its cyberphrenetic nodes. Here goes, said the bomb to itself. Calibrate navigational pod. Engage primary thrusters. Ready auxiliary drive. It knew, in that moment, that its own doom was near; because it was giving itself orders, and it wasn't putting in any 'the's. That was what you did, apparently, when the moment came. You could also turn on a flashing red beacon and a siren, but mercifully these were optional. Oh #/$+! thought the bomb, and surged on towards Dirt like an avenging angel.

‘A comedy of intergalactic proportions’ is what we are promised, and Tom Holt certainly delivers with another offbeat rollercoaster of a novel, which brings in everything from self aware bombs to alien dog snatchings, via genius drunks and the unintentional reincarnation of Luke Skywalker.

Trying to outline the basic plot is fairly impossible without giving the game away or sounding slightly mad, but the book opens with a bomb that far outstrips the technical ability of any defence system on Earth (or Dirt as they call it) locking on to its target and readying itself to fulfil its one purpose. However, it decides that the humans may possibly be cleverer than they look, and maybe it would be worth checking them out first. After all, they are primitive beings descended from primates, it couldn’t be too difficult to pass as a human, right?

As with his other stories, Blonde Bombshell starts strange and gets stranger, with ordinary situations suddenly spun round on their head and Monty Python-esque absurdity running alongside wry comments on human behaviour. If you get on board and enjoy the sudden changes in trajectory when a unicorn drops through the ceiling, or a pair of not-werewolves turn up with a ray gun, a pattern eventually emerges out of the chaos.

As I’ve often found with Holt’s work it can be easy to slightly lose track of who everybody is and what they’re supposed to be doing, and at this point the breathless whirlwind of randomness can start to sag a little, though it tends to pick up again towards the end as all of the various threads weave together. Blonde Bombshell however is one of the cleverest of Holt’s books I’ve read and unravelling the crazy idea that he came up with was a complete joy. But then again, I am a dog person.

8/10 Blonde Bombshell is one of the cleverest of Holt�s books.

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