First Contract

Greg Costikyan, Author Tor Books $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-87396-7
While some varieties of SF aliens have peaceful motives when they arrive on Earth, many are intent on hostile takeovers. The plan of Costikyan's aliens is particularly sinister: to drive all success, love and financial solvency from Johnson Mukerjii's life by flooding the Earth market with their superior technological junk. At least, that is how Mukerjii, the hero who narrates with an endearing braggadocio and swagger familiar to SF fans, sees it. It all starts when the first contract between an alien race and the United Nations sees the advanced civilization's entire knowledge base traded for an apparently useless piece of real estate--Jupiter. This turns out to be as terrible a mistake as selling Manhattan island off for a few beads. (Using Jupiter's resources, the aliens build gadgets such as hover cars that fly at Mach 6, objects far beyond the grasp of Earth entrepreneurs.) Earth's economy bottoms out, dragging our hero into the sewers with it (almost literally). Ever the optimist and networker, however, Mukerjii swindles his way to funds so he can develop a product and secure a new contract that will take him back to the top. Costikyan's tale is bouyant and fun, despite having little new to offer. Mukerjii remains appealing throughout, never loses his somewhat dubious dignity--i.e., using surplus food, some of which is labeled unfit for humans, to prepare odd variations of the gourmet meals he was used to--as he fights valiantly against a world out to get him. Readers will take him to heart. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2000
Release date: 07/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 288 pages - 978-0-8125-4549-4
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