Book Review – “Snake Oil” by Bruno Lombardi

And here it is, the first book review on this blog! The honors go to Bruno Lombardi’s debut science fiction novel “Snake Oil”, a very enjoyable and humorous look at first contact that is bound to entertain and amuse in equal measures.

Having had a chance to read an early draft of the novel, I was privileged to see its development into an excellent work of tongue-in-cheek science fiction it is today. The story starts out strong and does not let go, incorporating a varied and unique cast of characters and interweaving plot lines that all come together in the end. Amongst the novel’s protagonists are secret agents, UFO believers, and (literally) tinfoil-wearing conspiracy theorists – and that is only tip of the iceberg. Each archetype is played up for humorous effect, and when they do interact with each other, the results are often hilarious, and yet still believable.

The plot of “Snake Oil” thrives on taking fiction and pop culture clichés and spinning them with new, unique twists. The aliens come to Earth not as conquerors, but as – rather sleazy – salesmen, all answering to the name “Bob”, and interactions between the aliens and various stratas of human society take on a decidedly commercial bent, up to and including a bidding war between governments lining up to purchase alien technologies. And while the aliens do have questionable intentions, the nature of their intentions and methods was refreshingly different from many science fiction clichés.

Lombardi’s writing is witty and fast-paced, and his characters are instantly memorable, with each having a distinct persona and interesting influence on the book’s events. The protagonists are intentionally written as caricatures of certain archetypes for great comical effect, however, the book never descends into cheap parody. “Snake Oil” is a smart, funny, and imaginative romp through unconventional first contact scenario, and is highly recommended.

Buy it now at Amazon.Com

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