Indie Feature Friday: SF Book Review – <i>Galaxy Cruise: The Maiden Voyage</i> by Marcus Alexa
I can’t believe it’s December already.
I’m in a cozy reads mood right now. I’m all bundled up with blankets and tea or hot chocolate and big fuzzy socks, even though this year hasn’t been as cold here as usual. It’s full-on hibernation time here, for which I like fun, funny, and heartwarming books (sometimes with the occasional murder)
If you’re looking for a last minute gift for a Sci-Fi lover on your list, or you’re just wanting some suggestions for great books to curl up with this holiday season, I have the series for you!
Galaxy Cruise: The Maiden Voyage by Marcus Alexander Hart
Humanity needed a hero. It got a karaoke DJ.
Leo MacGavin is not the brightest specimen of humanity. But when he inadvertently rescues a flirty alien heiress, he’s promoted from second-rate lounge entertainer to captain of the galaxy’s most sophisticated cruise ship.
Before he can flee in terror, a human-hating executive gives Leo an ultimatum—complete the vessel’s maiden voyage or mankind’s last colony will be turned into a sewage dump. To make matters worse, a militant cyborg is undermining his authority, a giant spider is terrifying the passengers, and a sentient plant keeps stealing all the beer.
If Leo ever wants to see his home again, he’ll have to keep the guests happy through seven days of onboard antics and madcap shore excursions. As strange malfunctions tear the ship apart, can he hold his rag-tag crew together, or will he flush the last bastion of humanity down the crapper?
Galaxy Cruise: The Maiden Voyage is a hilarious science fiction comedy adventure for readers who love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Space Team. And moviegoers who love Galaxy Quest, Spaceballs, and Guardians of the Galaxy. And TV watchers who love Red Dwarf, Futurama, and The Orville. And people who basically just want to see The Love Boat on a spaceship.
Don’t get left on the spacedock! Grab this silly, madcap space caper now!
Oh, Galaxy Cruise. How do I love you? Let me count the ways…
Okay, no. I’m not going to torture you with poetry.
But this book ticked so many boxes for me that I do feel slightly compelled to break into rhyming couplets.
I’m going to be honest with you. Sci-Fi Comedy is a really tough genre to impress me in. I love it when it’s done well, but humour is tricky. A tiny misstep and a joke goes from funny to WTF faster than a Cowboy Bebop fan can spew unmitigated wrath at anyone who dares to say they’re enjoying the Netflix adaptation.
Humour is a deeply personal thing, and what resonates with one reader/viewer will not necessarily tickle the funny bone of the person next to them.
And that’s okay. That’s cool. That’s what makes the world go round.
But I’ve recently read a lot of Sci-Fi Comedy books that just… didn’t do it for me. (I’m looking at you A Robot Named Clunk)
So Galaxy Cruise was such a glorious find I immediately bought Book 2 and pre-ordered Book 3 when I finished Book 1: The Maiden Voyage.
I’ve read one of Hart’s books before, so I was pretty confident that I’d enjoy this one. You can read my review of his fabulously irreverent urban fantasy novel Alexis vs. the Afterlife here!
Marcus Alexander Hart is a superb storyteller. His plots follow a tried and true structure similar to the storytelling style of Disney/Pixar films. There’s a familiarity and a trust involved in this kind of perfectly plotted book, the kind that can destroy a reading experience if the author fumbles the readers expectations. Hart does not disappoint.
Galaxy Cruise balances this familiar structure with a completely zany cast of characters, an outlandish situation, and more problems that you can shake a Karaoke mic at. I was entertained the entire time I was reading, and while I was right about some of my predictions I was still surprised by the resolution of this first book. There were twists and turns I didn’t see coming, and I was left with the immediate need to jump into Book 2!
Hart’s characters are his greatest asset, and I love that both books of his I’ve read have featured queer female characters. But what I have come to appreciate the most about his work after reading a few comedic flops is this: Hart is a master of his authorial voice.
When I read Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente I was struck by a sense of her really trying to channel Douglas Adams. She did a good job, and the book is laugh out loud funny at times, but it was exhausting to get through sometimes.
A Robot Named Clunk suffered from the same feeling of soulless imitation. All the right parts were there, except the tin man had no heart.
Even Bob’s Saucer Repair by Jerry Boyd, which I enjoyed for other reasons, lacked the strength and confidence of Marcus Alexander Hart’s voice in Galaxy Cruise: The Maiden Voyage.
That voice is why I will read everything Hart puts out. He’s an indie author that truly raises the bar for other indie authors and easily competes with traditionally published science fiction.
The Technical Details:
There are a lot of great indie books out there, and they come in various stages of professionalism.
The cost involved in producing a book independently can mean that a book doesn’t have the best cover or it doesn’t get that second or third round of proofreading.
Then there are books like Galaxy Cruise which you could put in front of any discerning reader and they would never guess that it was self-published.
I do not personally believe that a book without typos is necessarily indicative of a professionally written story. I’m willing to overlook some errors of the sake of a book I’m emotionally invested in.
But Galaxy Cruise goes to prove that a stellar story combined with a professional cover, editing, formatting, and proofreading really does improve the reader experience.
It’s a knock-out, through and through.
What’s your favourite Sci-Fi Comedy movie or novel? Have you read any of Hart’s work? Let me know in the comments!