Friday, April 22, 2011

Zaftan Entrepreneurs, Book One of the Zaftan Trilogy by Hank Quense (review)

Genre:Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date:January 31st 2011
Where to get:B&N, Amazon,
Create Space:Zaftan Entrepreneurs 
Zaftan Entrepreneurs - Goodreads

     The Zaftans are coming! These aliens are 7 foot 400 pound squid-like creatures with a nasty disposition (when they are in a good mood)

     An alien mining ship from Zaftan 31B discovers Gundarland and orbits the planet. Initial scans show promising mining sites that could yield exotic minerals ladened with rare elements. The zaftan crew launch robotic explorers which do considerable damage to private property and enrage the native population. At the center of the explored territory, Drakin Gemseeker, a dwarf miner, and Leslie Higginbottom, the only constable in the area, are attracted to each other, but the alien incursion comes between them. The politicians in Dun Hythe, the capital, have worked a deal with a zaftan negotiator and the constable must protect the robotic explorers, much to Higginbottom's dismay. Meanwhile, MacDrakin's mining property is twice invaded by robots and he destroys both of them. The second one was armed and fired a weapon at him. MacDrakin declares war on the aliens and the robots and vows to destroy them all.
     With Higginbottom ordered to protect the robots and MacDrakin hunting them down, their budding romance falters and seems doomed. On the space ship, the zaftan captain, Yunta, is furious at the loss of so many expensive robots. When an extensive mineral deposit is discovered underneath the town, Yunta sees an opportunity to avenge the loss of the explorers. She orders the mineral deposit mined without regard to the town or its inhabitants. She dispatches as many crew members as possible to protect the mining machines and remaining robots.
     MacDrakin, in the meantime, has assembled a small army and intends to defend the town. If he can defeat the zaftans and drive them away, he hopes that will also clear the way for him to resume romancing Higginbottom.


"Penelope Hogsfoot formulated the Three Laws of Thermo-Necromancy: Magic can be altered, but it can not be created or destroyed; The universe never gets tidier; When it's really, really cold out, magic is hard to do."
"(...)Wot does abdi-whatever mean?" a half-pint male asked.
"It means he quit", she replied.
"Why didn't they just say that?"
"They're bureaucrats. They need to use big words to make themselves feel important. (...)"
"Dwarf romance was fraught with peril because both males and females grew beards."

     Zaftan Entrepreneurs is an extremely funny and highly entertaining science fantasy novel by Hank Quense. This book has everything: humor, adventure, magic, war, aliens, fantasy creatures and humans. Spiced up with a hilarious political satire and a healthy dose of romance, it's a delightful fast-paced and engaging read, that will leave you craving for more. I can promise you that it's nothing like you've ever read before!

     The story takes off when a Zaftan space ship approaches the Gundar planet. Zaftans are rather repulsive looking, squid-like creatures, standing seven feet tall and weighing over 400 pounds, with grayish skin oozing green slime. Oh, and did I mention that they don't wear clothes? It's because the slime makes most cloth materials smolder and eventually catch fire. Not only do they look nasty, but they're also quite snarly and treacherous, even toward their own kind. They come from a planet called Zaftan 31B, colorless and depressing place, permanently covered with dark clouds. Living on a planet nearly deployed of natural resources, zaftans are forced to explore the space.

     During one of the exploration voyages a zaftan space ship, commanded by Captain Yunta, comes across Gundar, a bluish planet populated by diverse races, such as dwarfs, elves, humans, half-pints, yuks and others. After a brief analysis of the surface, Yunta decides to send Shtap, one of her officers, to negotiate the mining treaty with the leader of the natives. After learning the language of the natives, Shtap pays a visit to the president of Gundarland, Albert Webley. In exchange for the mining permission, he offers to teach them how to clean up the pollution and keep their water clean. Shtap says, they will use robotic explorers to explore the surface of the planet and promises to respect the property rights and the people. The officials, tempted by the prospect of having their pollution problem solved, agree to the treaty. Everything seems to be going well for zaftans, up until the point when the robotic explorers start trespassing and causing damage to the private properties. One thing zaftans don't yet realize is how feisty a  creature each Gundarians can be when it comes to protecting his/her land and property. Zaftans are about to learn their lesson the hard way!
     I haven't read any previous novels from Hank Quense, but in this one, he definitely makes his great talent clear. Hank is no doubt an ingenious comedic writer, blessed with intellect and the ability to make the reader laugh out loud. It really doesn't even matter whether you're a fantasy or science fiction fan, if you like a good laugh, this is definitely a book for you. Zaftan Entrepreneurs is remarkably fresh and consistently funny, very Pratchett-ish! The characters in this book are fascinating and even the smallest ones are very relevant to the plot. I loved how the story was told from many different perspectives, all of them complementary to each other. I enjoyed the story and the humor a lot, I found it extremely hard to put this book down and I'm definitely looking forward to the second part of Zaftan Trilogy!

     So is there anyone I wouldn't recommend this book to? Well, yes, actually, there is. If your book shelf consist mostly of YA/Paranormal novels, you might not find this book to be a good fit for you. It definitely takes a rather mature and open minded reader to fully appreciate the political satire (which by the way, is oh!-so-genius!). But if you're one of the people who can "think outside the box" and you feel like a good laugh, then by all means, grab the book and start reading! You definitely won't be disappointed!


Jennifer said...

This cover looked so bizarre that i had to read about this book.

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan. And my bookshelf is mostly YA and paranormal. So maybe not for me.

But interesting to read about different kinds of books.

Jolene and Family said...

I have to agree with Jennifer, what an odd cover. So odd, that it caught my eye :) I'm not really into sci-fi, but have ventured that way from time to time and am intrigued with this book. Great review

Sakira said...

This is such a quaint cover! And the pitch is even cuter! I haven't read many sci-fi fantasy books recently and none about aliens (though I am Number Four is waiting on my bookshelf)! This sounds like an action-filled read with a great sense of humor. I admit to reading a lot of YA, but I do think that I can appreciate a good political satire given the chance. At least, I hope I will because this doesn't sound like a book to miss.

Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

Jolene, the book does have aliens and fantasy creatures, but it is difficult to assign a genre to it because, in addition to aliens and dwarfs etc it is also contains humor and both corporate and political satire. In other words, I had a lot of fun writing it.

Unknown said...

I love your review1 It's so great! I totally love the cover too, it has so much colour and looks so interesting! Fab post :D

Aleetha said...

This is new books for me. I have never seen it around the blogosphere.

I loved sci-fi. I wonder how the result when they combine robotic and the dwarf plus magic.

aurora M. said...

Haha the cover makes me laugh! I know someone right now that would eat this up. Will be passing along this recommendation! Thanks for the review.

Krystal Larson said...

I love science fiction, thanks for the great review!

Munnaza said...

This book sounds like it'll be fun and amusing, and the cover is incredibly odd. I don't think I'd have picked it up if I saw it in person, but your review makes the book sound intriguing, so I'll have to check it out. And the quotes you cited are absolutely hilarious. Thank you for the review!

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