Saturday, March 05, 2011
By Alan Dean Foster
Seeth is a young punk who, with his brother Kerwin, who's a bit of a nerd, see something strange at a bowling lane: a bowling ball with a mind of its own and a bowler who has seven fingers. But before they can get a closer look, two thugs show up and start dragging the seven-fingered bowler and his ball away. Seeth, being a kind of anti-establishment sort of person, steps in to challenge the two thugs and in the ensuing hassle, he and his brother and the stranger manage to escape. But not for long, because the two thugs come after them, shooting not guns but some kind of beam weapon. And as their new friend, Rail, explains, the thugs will not be satisfied with anything less than all their deaths. So all three of them, and the bowling ball, and a air-headed young woman who gets dragged into it all also, have to leave Earth and flee in Rail's spacecraft to seek refuge from the relentless thugs who are after one thing: the bowling ball.
This book tries real hard to be funny but it just isn't. Mostly it is dull. Seeth is a creep, his brother is a zero and the young woman, Miranda, is just a parody of a woman, constantly obsessed with shopping. The whole universe is after the bowling ball, and lots of aliens pop in and out of the story, but even the aliens miss the mark too. About the only thing that was engaging in the story was the puzzle of the bowling ball. It was the only thing that kept my interest and I found the solution of the bowling ball satisfying and surprising. So for the sake of the bowling ball part of the story, I think this book gets a fair rating.