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27 October 2021

Publisher: Three Ravens Publishing

Written By: John Drake

RRP: £12.00 / $25.84 (Paperback) | £4.25 / $5.86 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Nathan Jones

I’m definitely not the first person to compare John Drake’s Zoomers to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books by Douglas Adams, and I certainly won’t be the last. The plot, after all, revolves around a typically English character being whisked away from Earth into a madcap, hilarious sci-fi adventure.

The Arcadian people—if you can call tentacled creatures people—have decided the end of the universe is nigh. Doubting their own ability to avert the ultimate disaster, General Buck—a tea and biscuit obsessed leader—and Professor Doubt, decide to enlist the aide of a human. Their logic is that, since Earthlings tend to obsess over meaningless details and often ignore the major devastating issues in life, a human might be able to provide a completely different viewpoint on the end of everything.    

So, Scratch, a Southend-on-Sea professional burglar, is “Zoomed”, mid-job, to Arcadia, by Pdnrtk (otherwise known as Terry). Unexpectedly, Scratch does not arrive alone. He’s accompanied by Mr. Reisback, a retired human resources manager who is obsessed with the imminent delivery of his new sofa, Cantina, a Swiss pharmacogenomicist, and Glorious, the well-groomed, female plumber to the king of Kenya.

Before they begin training Scratch et al to collect data from on the demise of individual planets, Corporal Cauliflower (a “miserable optimist”) and Sargent Bakewell must practice the task themselves, Zooming through space and time to various, unexpectedly dull planets, when all they really want to do is head to the Moon Shots bar for a glass of Pomplefitzer and “cheerful”.

Elsewhere, in the Arcadian Production Corporation, Jod, Quality Control Engineer, Fourth Class, has a regrettable accident with his iron wedding ring on the lithium bracelet production line. It results in the creation of the universe’s first conscious alloy. This gift of self-awareness and intelligence spreads quickly across inanimate items, resulting in attempts to overthrow their sentient overlords in ways you would never conceive.

Despite Zoomers obvious parallels with Adam’s works—is it possible to write a space comedy without such comparisons being made?—Drake definitely has his own, individual style. Firstly, his plot moves much faster, thereby cramming more comical content into a similar space. Secondly, he focuses much more on dialogue than description. And last but not least, if you can possibly imagine so, the plot is even more eccentric and ridiculous than those of the Hitchhiker’s series.

For me, the highlight of the book is definitely the farcical dialogue of a host of characters who all—except possibly Scratch—appear to have serious mental misgivings. Each and every scene seems comparable to a stand-up routine full of wordplay, quips, and humorous miscommunication. Following Scratch through the bizarre plot gives the reader a perfect grounding, however, as he’s a plain-speaking, no-nonsense kind of chap, with the ability to see through all the nonsense thrown at him to the heart of the matter.

If you’re in need of a seriously good laugh, Zoomers is for you.


+  Zoomers is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @RavensThree (Three Ravens Publishing) on Twitter.
+  Follow @NathanJonesBook (Nathan Jones) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

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