Book review: Blonde Bombshell

Tom Holt’s Blonde Bombshell

Author: Tom Holt
Publisher: Orbit

Tom Holt was educated at Oxford and at first concentrated on writing poetry, before he quickly moved into novel writing. Well known for his numerous comic fiction, he has also written several historical novels under the name Thomas Holt. Blonde Bombshell is his most recent comic novel and his first foray into the sci-fi genre, a move he makes extremely well.

The novel follows several characters while an alien species, the dog-like Ostar, attempts to blow up Dirt (aka Earth) – basically because it’s just making too much noise. One super-intelligent bomb has already been dispatched to blow up the planet, but disappeared without a trace, so we see another sent to investigate this disappearance and, ultimately, complete the job that the other failed to do. However, as the type 6 probe – the self-named Mark Twain – begins to discover what happened to the first bomb and finds out more about Dirt, doubt begins to creep into its mind about whether it should actually complete the mission. We also meet Lucy Pavlov – the most beautiful, successful, IT savvy CEO on the planet – as she attempts to find out why billions of pounds keep disappearing, and George Stetchkin, who gets drunk, shot several times and briefly ends up as a sentence, as he tries to find out who stole his dog when he was 12.

Holt writes in an intelligent and quirky fashion, immediately drawing the reader into his novels, quickly forcing them to identify with the primary players through excellent characterisation. Blonde Bombshell is no exception to this. This novel is definitely one of Holt’s strongest, as although it is still very quirky, he puts his characters in more everyday situations on Dirt than in some other novels, which then allows readers to relate to characters more quickly. Pace is kept consistently high through short chapters and changing between storylines to keep interest, while concepts are well explained. Humorous lines are also used to relay information in a way that will make this novel accessible to individuals without any kind of developed interest in or knowledge of sci-fi. The storyline is well structured and planned, and although to some extent a little predictable at points, the quality of prose and humour make up for this.

Continually throughout the book, Holt’s alien characters see things in different, unexpected ways that make the reader think and question their everyday assumptions and practices. This is a trait that Holt shares with Douglas Adams, alongside his mythopoeic style. Holt also uses direct discussion between novel and reader, further involving you in the book.

Overall, Blonde Bombshell is an exceptionally well-written first sci-fi comedy novel. Any fan of humorous science fiction such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy should hope this won’t be Holt’s only foray into the genre.

[isbn name=”Blonde Bombshell”]978-1841497785[/isbn]