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WesternSFA
Alexander Outland: Space Pirate
by G.J. Koch
Nightshade Books, $14.99, 363pp
Release Date: June 5, 2012

This is a straight-up, in-your-face, space adventure. The author does not dress this up in high ideals or high-falutin’ language. This is Malcolm Reynolds on speed, and way funnier.

Outland and his motley crew find themselves the unwilling saviors of a star system under siege by….pirates. Yep, but they’re the bad kind of pirates; the kind who want to kill, destroy and conquer. Outland, known as Nap to his friends, is the kind of pirate who steals but leaves you alive so you can be stolen from again. So, here’s Nap with his sexy but unattainable Weapons Chief, his eccentric but brilliant Chief Engineer, a deposed planet despot who now just annoys everyone with his old-man-whining, and the newest member of his crew: a sexbot who looks like Marilyn Monroe but turns out to have multiple talents. And, here they are: trapped on a military-run planet and unable to leave without being taken by the pirates. But the military isn’t all that friendly and neither is the lunatic fringe who keeps trying to blow them up. Against Nap’s better judgment – and sense of self-preservation – he’s going to have to defeat the space pirates which might be the only way to his Weapons Chief’s heart.

There are lots of good things in this story; not the least of which is a fun story. The characters are quirky and the dialogue is fast and furious and funny. One of the best things Ms. Koch did was to plop her characters down fully realized and in the middle of a crisis. She, wisely, did not attempt to create an origin story although she manages, quite adroitly, to throw us tidbits about their past and the connections between them. Although the plot was convoluted and, sometimes, confusing – that was alright by me. It contributed to the breathless feeling of being swept along in the current. She’s promised a second story and I hope we don’t have to wait too long. ~~ Catherine Book

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