CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 2004
In Robbie Packford's first adventure with aliens and space travel, he saves the planet Kerbosky from a programming error that has transformed all the resident robot servants from being too nice to being much too nasty. In the process, however, he introduces the Kerboskians to pizza made not by people with ordinary ingredients like bread and tomato sauce, but by a programmed automatic molecular processor which assembles it freely from the appropriated constituent molecules. Unfortunately humans and Kerboskians, while similar in some respects, differ in that Kerboskians have three eyes, six fingers on each hand, and find pizza incredibly addictive. Therefore, whoever controls the program for pizza manufacture controls Kerbosky. Robbie is roped into helping when Kerbosky's twin planet (and eternal enemy) captures the president of Kerbosky, holding him for ransom. The demand: the pizza program!
So we have, among other things, an amusing premise, a space-age connection, a ridiculous grown-up in frog-and-ducky patterned pyjamas clutching a teddy bear and muttering "Make mine with everything" at intervals as he suffers pizza withdrawal. Everything chuckles along until we get to the resolution, at which point Robbie hears himself echoing his sixth-grade teacher as he says, "Just be nice to each other!" And for the conflict between the Drabblovians versus the Kerboskians, this bromide works! Not being able to remember exactly why they hate each other actually makes these arch-enemies abandon their positions instead of inventing reasons for maintaining them! It is at this point that my disbelief refuses to be suspended, having witnessed my share of teachers saying mildly, "You're making a bad choice, Priscilla!" while attempting to keep said Priscilla from throttling another kid for no better reason than that she is there.
However, this is fiction, and if extra-terrestrials are more reasonable than earthly 12-year-olds, then that is good. If it makes the penny drop for a reader or two, that is more than good. Even better, however, is that readers will find the journey to Kerbosky and back with Robbie very funny and should enjoy the experience. We can look forward to the third of Robbie's interactions with the Kerboskians with pleasure.
Mary Thomas works in two elementary schools in Winnipeg, MB, with one of the schools being inner city.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.