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Scum of the Universe by Grant J. Everett #BookReview

Bob Tuesday has a lot of problems. For starters, he’s total scum. 

But that’s currently the least of his worries. 

Scary people want Tuesday dead. He’s on the run across the span of a galaxy-wide empire without any skills, resources or friends. And to make matters worse, it turns out he might not even exist. 

And this is a relatively good week. 

However, despite being a dunce in every sense, Tuesday has exactly two talents. First off, he’s good at stumbling face-first into amazing situations. And while he may not be intelligent, charming, well-spoken, good looking, or even brush his teeth on a regular basis, he’s always been gifted at one thing above all others: surviving… 

Scum of the Universe is a self-contained novel, and is also part one of a trilogy. 

Scum of the Universe by Grant J Everett book cover

Author: Scum of the Universe  | Author: Grant J. Everett | Publisher: Black Cockie Press | Pub. Date: 10 September 2017 | Pages: 663 | ASIN:  B075K3L5MB | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Author for review consideration

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Scum of the Universe Review

“…all good things must come to an end, and so does mediocre sex between two exceptionally ugly people.” The author should have opened with this line because it is perfect, a precious stone. Truth be told, “Scum of the Universe” by Grant J. Everett is a gem of subversive, sardonic, and hilarious science fiction that both pays tribute to and mocks every cliche in the genre. 

Bob Tuesday is scum. The illegitimate drug-love child of an even scummier dad Jim, and a genetic experiment primate called Rushka, Bob is a borderline illiterate, chain-smoking loser with the sole skill of self-preservation. In his defence, Tuesday didn’t have the best of starts. His world, or rather galaxy (not that he knows what a galaxy is) is a mess of industrialised child slavery, planet-sized slugs, sadistic serial killers, hyper-consumerist utopias, the mob, and pissed off robots.  “Scum of the universe” reminds me of the unholy love-child of Futurama, Terry Pratchett, Quentin Tarantino, and Star Trek. It is cover-to-cover black, twisted humour ingeniously crafted into a story, or rather two stories. 

The novel’s structure is as subversive as its content, defying conventional storytelling patterns by wrapping two tales into one. The first segment is Bob’s bildungsroman, the disastrous conditions under which he was conceived, the woeful calamity of his formative years, his childhood of indentured servitude, and his journey to “scum his way to the top”. 

The second section concerns Bob’s career as a janitor aboard a prototype starship designed to explore the universe outside of the known galaxy and his unsuccessful romantic attempts on an era-defining genius science officer who sees him only as a pet project. Sandwiched between these slices of science fiction is a layer of simulated universe weirdness. The reader can only speculate on where the author was going with this thread. 

There is nothing to dislike about “Scum of the Universe”, every page delivers hilarious and quotable prose. It is jam-packed with science fiction Easter eggs and tropes. From “Monoliths” inspired by Warhammer 40K’s Space Marines, the Borg, or albino navigators with a certain kind of autism, no one is safe. The novel is double-edged. 

Under the warped humour and scummery, Everett directs his precision-edged satire at modernity, extrapolating our present wastefulness and indifference to suffering into the far future where education is a one hundred percent passive transaction between student and teacher, and politicians are as self-serving as ever. “Catering to the hateful is usually a sound tactic for getting into office.”

Child slaves work themselves to death manufacturing stuffed toys for luckier children elsewhere in the galaxy. Grotesque crickets, headless and supersized, serve as a protein source for “McDeath” restaurants that also sell ultra-sweet milkshakes that cause toddlers to have strokes. Set against the absurd backdrop of an insane species, Bob Tuesday becomes the sole character that contemporary readers would recognise as human as he crashes from one corner of the galaxy to the next, discarded trash on an inexorable ocean.

We are all a bit “Bob Tuesday” or at least we should endeavour to be. Someone needs to publish Everett’s work, and you all need to buy this book.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inScience Fiction Book ReviewsStarred Reviews

One Comment

  1. Hey Michael. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing my novel. I was stoked that you enjoyed it so much. Just FYI, the version published by Black Cockie Press is available on SmashWords, as the old, self-published version isn’t available anymore. Here’s the link:

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