“A Swift Kick In The Asteroids” by Edward Zajac

I seem to be on a weird titles kick at the moment. I requested this one from NetGalley because it looked entertaining, and the way it was portrayed (cover, blurb, title) reminded me a little of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, which I love.

swift kick in the asteroids

To a certain extent, that was an accurate impression. It’s a madcap adventure with an unlikely and somewhat reluctant protagonist: Zagarat is a neurotic tech whose anxiety seems to mirror my own, but who learns to stand up for himself throughout the book and ends up being a hero. I love those kinds of stories, especially when it’s the protagonist’s nerdy skill that saves the day, and Zag’s computer skills came up a lot.

He’s dragged on this adventure by Fletcher, an exuberant oddball with slightly illegal hobbies but, as far as one could tell, a good heart under it all. And I have to say, the thing I found most frustrating about this book was that Zag may have realised he could be a hero, but he didn’t seem to realise how tremendously gay he was for Fletcher.

Because seriously. Seriously. The sexual tension could have been cut with a knife. Fletcher kisses him at least three times.

“And then we shall commit carnal and unnatural acts together!”
“Aaah!” screamed Zagarat, running down the corridor.
“Come back,” said Fletcher, running after him. “Stop fighting your feelings for me!”
“Stay away from me, you sunning lunatic!”
“All I want to do is love you!”

Zajac doesn’t seem to have taken the “nervous nerd pulled out of his shell by a mysterious handsome stranger with gorgeous eyes” thing to that level, though, which is a shame, because the book seemed to suffer a bit from enforced heterosexuality and I found that odd to read. I mean, Zag was constantly obsessing over Fletcher and talking about his eyes, but then he sees a woman…

I dunno. Moving on.

While the book has plenty of funny moments, sometimes those jokes took the form of over-explaining a reference, invented object, or simply a joke. These descriptions were sometimes funny enough that I didn’t mind them, but after a while, I felt like they were slowing down the story and sometimes laboured a point too much.

The plot is… well. I mean, something is achieved, and that’s a good thing, and the characters learn from it and grow. I’m just not sure how they got to that point, because they didn’t seem to start out with that goal in mind, and despite having only read this last night, I can’t remember what their initial goal was, so it can’t have been that clear.

This isn’t to say it was bad: there were plenty of cool twists and turns, and like I said, the character development was significant without seeming fundamentally unlikely, as it happened gradually throughout the book. From a reader’s perspective, the plot was fine, it’s just that when I come to analyse it and break it down, I can’t entirely see its arc.

To end, here are a few quotes I liked:

The two stared at each other for the longest time; Fletcher the personification of serenity while Dahlia was the personification of a woman who wanted to maul Fletcher with her bare hands.

(Honestly, at this point I don’t blame her.)

The jig was up. Or down. Or however it was you danced a jig.

This made me think for a minute, as an ex-Irish dancer. I’d say neither. Or both. Hmm.

Zag didn’t so much suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder as Attention Surplus Disorder, where he would consider a subject from every possible angle until all the horrible permutations drove him mad.

Did you mean: about me.

Anyway, I’m giving it four stars. It was fun and engaging, but occasionally the descriptions were laboured in a way that affected the pacing, and it should have been gayer.

Rating: ****


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