Department header
Bewildering Stories

John Brosnan, Mothership

reviewed by Jerry Wright

Author: John Brosnan
Publisher: Gollancz
Hardcover: February 2005
Length: 304 pages
ISBN: 0575076275
Price: #6.99
No U.S. publication yet

I have no idea how I stumbled across this UK publication. Just lucky I guess. Mothership hasn’t come out from an American publisher yet, but my feeling is that it will shortly. I was in the middle of reading John Wright’s The Golden Transcendence and was feeling a bit, I dunno, overwhelmed? I felt a real need for something light... Something fun... And I found Mothership.

This is an excellent book. I see that John Brosnan is known as a satirist. Perhaps there is a bit of satire here (or... more than a bit?) But there were segments of this book that made me smile, and some that made me laugh. Remember Orphans of the Sky? Remember Brian Aldiss’ Non-Stop? Yep, this is a story about a generation ship carrying unknowing passengers to another world. Although it is a secret to the protagonists at the beginning, it isn’t a secret even to the casual reader as this salient fact is given away on the cover and in the blurb. But it’s okay.

One of the primary differences between Urba and the previously mentioned worlds is that Urba was created as a medievaloid pastoral civilization ON PURPOSE, and kept that way by the "Elite", or so the overlords styled themselves. And then the DAY OF WONDER occurred and the electric lights went out for the Elite. And they now find themselves on the run from their angry subjects.

However, this is the story of Jad the (former) Court Jester and Prince Kender of the Domain of Capelia. Kender decides that (aside from the fact that he really needs to get away from his fiancee’ Princess Petal) Capelia needs information about warring factions and warlords. So he wants to head out on a spying mission. Fearing for his safety, his father, Lord Krader, commands Jad, Kender’s childhood friend and a rather incompetent and very cautious jester, to accompany him. "You’re an idiot," Lord Krader tells Jad, "but also shrewd, devious, cunning and a born liar. Hopefully you’ll keep my son alive while saving your own skin." As Jad has no choice, after making pious offerings to their favorite gods (Maurice, God of War, and Agnes, Goddess of Good Sex), off Jad and Kender go on their quest, in short order encountering bandits, pirates, various flavors of monster, and a mysterious young woman who knows more than she’s letting on.

So... What caused the DAY OF WONDER, where are the elite, and who is Alucia, really?

This book is VERY well written, and the humor is woven throughout the story and is not at all heavy-handed.

As far as I can tell, you can only get it in some bookstores, or from The sequel, Mothership Awakening is coming out in hardback shortly.

Copyright © 2005 by Jerry Wright for Bewildering Stories