cover image Communication Failure

Communication Failure

Joe Zieja. Saga, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8690-3

The enjoyable second installment of Zieja’s Epic Failure comedic space action trilogy picks up where 2016’s Mechanical Failure left off: with Capt. R. Wilson Rogers promoted far beyond his capabilities to acting admiral of the 331st Meridan space fleet, and staring down the gun barrels of the invading Thelicosans. It looks as though war is about to break out after two centuries of peace, a period during which all involved have forgotten how to actually fight. Now Rogers has to find a way to derail the battle, but, in this tale of science fiction humor, nothing ever goes according to plan. His advisors are all incompetent, violent, or unprepared; the Thelicosan admiral wants to marry him; and a mysterious third faction is manipulating both sides towards an unknown end. Zieja’s comedy is reminiscent of Harry Harrison, relying on absurdity, exaggeration, and straight-faced ridiculousness. High points include a droid undergoing an existential crisis, a pilot obsessed with flashy maneuvers, a zookeeper determined to become a spy, and Rogers himself, an engineer who never wanted to be in charge of anyone. Slapstick timing and dry wit round out this adventure as it sets things up for the final entry. Agent: Sam Morgan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Nov.)