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XENU'S LOTTO by Mark McGhee


Part One: The Grand Game

by Mark McGhee

Pub Date: Feb. 29th, 2024
Publisher: BookBaby

A motley crew of potty-mouthed adventurers travel the Milky Way to save humanity in McGhee’s SF novel.

When crustacean like aliens from the planet Nogn land their flying saucer on the outskirts of Dubuque, Iowa, in the second half of the 21st century, Ernie E. Parmenter III, a sad-sack, divorced, middle-aged Walmart greeter with a “trick colon,” bravely steps up to make first contact. The Nognians sell Ernie (who hopes to impress and win back his sexy ex-wife, Lorelei) an extinction-insurance policy, assuring him that the premium—planet Earth itself—isn’t payable until four billion years in the future, when the sun will begin to die. At first, Ernie is hailed as a hero. He even becomes a senator, but soon things start to go seriously awry: Ernie has failed to read the fine print. The Nognians re-sell the policy, and its new holder, Lord Xenu, emperor of the galaxy, is moving the planet to the center of the galaxy, triggering earthquakes. Realizing it’s up to him to save the Earth, Ernie sets out on a rescue mission with the Nognians, along with Lorelei, her second ex-husband, named Del Savagewood, and Del’s erratic robot, Gordon Bleu. Various madcap adventures ensue. McGhee packs the narrative with bizarre life-forms, sexy babes, violence, social satire, and slapstick, apparently aiming for a mashup of Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, and MAD magazine. While the book has some effective moments of humor, Ernie Parmenter is no Arthur Dent, and the days when the main audience for SF was made up of adolescent boys are long gone. (Tropes like galactic slave markets and human women being kidnapped into alien harems should have been left behind in the 1930s with Flash Gordon and Ming the Merciless.) Even the robots are horny. The constant references to bodily functions, fluids, and related body parts (the word sphincter alone appears at least 10 times, puke a dozen) quickly become tiresome. McGhee’s writing is sloppy, rife with inconsistent spelling, changes of tense, and bad taste (“My spectrum analyzer is jumping around like a blue assed ape on a tent-pole trannie”).

An over-the-top, excessively scatological pastiche of well-worn sci-fi tropes.