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Foop!    by Chris Genoa order for
by Chris Genoa
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Eraserhead Press, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This spoofy, stream of consciousness time travel tale is worth reading, if only for its hilariously irreverent introductory musings on the simian appearance of Abraham Lincoln. I also appreciated Chris Genoa's empathy with signing gorilla Koko's difficulties when released to the wild, where she dealt with 'blank stares, confused offerings of bananas, and finally hot fresh feces' hurled at her.

Time tour guide Joe Malarkey works for Mr. Burk of Dactyl Inc.. After shooting Lincoln to resolve a problem caused by a loony member of his tour group, Joe is reassigned by Burk as 'Chief of Probes', to find out who is trying to change his boss's past - despite the fact that the 'Shaved Cat Principal' shows that changing a time line is impossible). An odd Duo - nicknamed Boogedy and Nibbles by Joe - display a persistent interest and even follow him through time (this is also supposed to be impossible as Dactyl has a monopoly on time travel). When at home, Joe deals with his apartment's haunting by the aggressive ghost of its previous occupant, and with a 'Bingo incident'.

Ongoing mysterious appearances and disappearances include that of Joe's co-worker, the pathetically dippy Martini, who's kidnapped by the alien Duo, and ends up planet-hopping with them while they make futile attempts at communication. It seems they're trying to avert some sort of space-time disaster. Joe discovers that Burk's 'Shaved Cat Principal' is flawed, and is inveigled into another expedition into the past. The story (is there a story in here?) meanders on to take in the cult of the Bogumils, a 'Where or Whencesoever Device', assorted robots, a multiplicity of Burks (including those devolved into monkeys), and an alien plan to replace humans with winged sea lions

Genoa offers a wild ride on the wacky side of SF, the outpourings of a highly creative mind. His empathy with Koko extends to credible descriptions of situations like time travel and birth and solitude, supplemented by wise advice like 'you should never trust mysterious beams of light'. Though the ongoing asides are too frequent for my taste (I prefer a story straight up), I enjoyed Foop! and wonder what its author will write next.

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