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.