cover image Jed the Dead

Jed the Dead

Alan Dean Foster. Ace Books, $5.99 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-441-00399-0

Bestselling author Foster (The Spoils of War) twists a black comedy about an alien corpse into a hilarious, weird, and out-of-this-world road trip, full of memorable characters, witty dialogue, and plenty of surprises. Ross Ed Hagen is a king-sized Texan with one desire in life: to see the Pacific Ocean. But during a rest stop on is drive west he discovers a pint-sized, three-limbed corpse in a space suit which rather changes his trip. Jed, as Ross names the body, never moves a muscle, and yet, he possesses a variety of unearthly powers, ranging from telepathically inducing cosmic visions, to blasting car jackers with laser beams, even providing patter for a ventriloquism act. Foster's wry narrative ("" shuddered like a movie critic at an Italian made-for-video film festival..."") keeps the plot cantering along, as Jed and Ross outsmart humorless Army operatives, geriatric bounty hunters, and oily Hollywood agents, as well as a wide variety of gun-toting American citizens bent on contacting UFOs. Although this is really a wild road novel, it still is best for sf fans, who will get more of the humor. (Jan.)