The Krikkit Wars


A planet of bumpkins declares war on the rest of the universe in this humorous sci-fi debut.
Krikkit is a bucolic world whose inhabitants are hardworking above all else. What they value most are the things they can touch and experience firsthand. When they look up in the sky, they see the sun—and not much else. A vast dust cloud obscures the rest of the cosmos, so the Krikkitans have no sense of their place in the larger scheme of things. It’s all the more shocking, then, when a spaceship crashes. Two Krikkitans named Brag and Tarm investigate the oddity, dragging it to a barn. Eventually, they get it flying and travel past the dust cloud. Upon seeing the majestic cosmos long hidden to them, they decide it shouldn’t exist, and they mobilize the rest of their people to destroy it. This endeavor involves building more spaceships and mastering weaponry. And because the Krikkitans only learn by doing, it’s a slow process. Still, they succeed in their epic quest by blowing up some planets and battling various races—including, by all appearances, humanity. But with Krikkit’s own natural resources limited, how much of the universe can their war machine destroy? Debut author Forjans offers a hilarious premise that wouldn’t be out of place in a Monty Python film. His narrative quickly proceeds with bone-dry wit and, in discussing the known universe, reveals that many civilizations “are so advanced that their primary function has evolved into having...a wonderful time whilst drinking perfectly chilled imported beer.” Adding to the tone is angular prose that alternates between charming and all-too goofy; for example, “Brag had, as no one else on Krikkit, not ever seen anything like the thing he now saw.” These highlights, unfortunately, are steadily brought low by Forjans’ pedantic plotting and argumentative, one-note characters. Frequently sloppy grammar doesn’t help, either: “Brag and Tarm was pleased with the result.” Tighter editing and defter storytelling may help a sequel.
An overdose of silliness for its own sake.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1477246313

Page Count: 232

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2014

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Too much puzzle-solving, not enough suspense.


Video-game players embrace the quest of a lifetime in a virtual world; screenwriter Cline’s first novel is old wine in new bottles. 

The real world, in 2045, is the usual dystopian horror story. So who can blame Wade, our narrator, if he spends most of his time in a virtual world? The 18-year-old, orphaned at 11, has no friends in his vertical trailer park in Oklahoma City, while the OASIS has captivating bells and whistles, and it’s free. Its creator, the legendary billionaire James Halliday, left a curious will. He had devised an elaborate online game, a hunt for a hidden Easter egg. The finder would inherit his estate. Old-fashioned riddles lead to three keys and three gates. Wade, or rather his avatar Parzival, is the first gunter (egg-hunter) to win the Copper Key, first of three. Halliday was obsessed with the pop culture of the 1980s, primarily the arcade games, so the novel is as much retro as futurist. Parzival’s great strength is that he has absorbed all Halliday’s obsessions; he knows by heart three essential movies, crossing the line from geek to freak. His most formidable competitors are the Sixers, contract gunters working for the evil conglomerate IOI, whose goal is to acquire the OASIS. Cline’s narrative is straightforward but loaded with exposition. It takes a while to reach a scene that crackles with excitement: the meeting between Parzival (now world famous as the lead contender) and Sorrento, the head of IOI. The latter tries to recruit Parzival; when he fails, he issues and executes a death threat. Wade’s trailer is demolished, his relatives killed; luckily Wade was not at home. Too bad this is the dramatic high point. Parzival threads his way between more ’80s games and movies to gain the other keys; it’s clever but not exciting. Even a romance with another avatar and the ultimate “epic throwdown” fail to stir the blood.

Too much puzzle-solving, not enough suspense.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-88743-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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