I decided to do my first book review with a bit of light-hearted fun. Michael Rubens, who is a producer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, wrote a book in 2009 called The Sheriff of Yrnameer. It is a typical space adventure novel, but with a whole lot of clever, and sometimes blunt, humor thrown in.
Cole, our plucky hero (who is really a big jerk) starts the novel in a meeting between him and an associate of his, Kenneth, a tentacle and claw-laden alien who is very interested in laying eggs inside Cole’s brain. Cole would not survive the event, so he strongly disagrees with the proposal and frantically runs away. Cole owes Kenneth a lot of money that he does not have, and this conflict becomes the driving force behind the plot throughout the book. Cole runs, and Kenneth chases.
In his flight, Cole blunders his way into a situation involving freeze-dried orphans, a tough love interest, and a whole lot of problems. Cole wants only to survive, but continually gets pushed into situations that force him into deeds that some would consider heroic. The humor is great, the plot is solid (if a bit predictable), and the characters are interesting (though a tad cliché).
I am in no way taking away from Michael Ruben’s creativity here. I say a “bit” predictable, because he was able to take a plot that had been done and change it enough to keep me engaged. When I say a “tad” cliché, I mean only a tad. He took existing archetypes and tweaked them into characters that have a unique, if familiar, feel to them.
If you’re looking for Heinlein or Brin, you may want to look elsewhere—this book is more along the lines of an early Douglas Adams. Yrnameer was published in 2009, which makes me wonder if Rubens is going to publish something else. I sincerely hope so, because this book is a fantastic start. It’s a blast to read, and there is an underlying message that is both serious and poignant in today’s society (big surprise from a Daily Show producer). The audiobook production, by the way, is amazing. If you need a laugh, and you like Sci-Fi, pick this up and have a good time!
Quinton Lawman is a technical writer at OverDrive.