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What is Will Destroy The Galaxy For Cash?

The hero of Will Save the Galaxy for Cash returns to do what he does best. Which is – what again, exactly?

With the age of heroic star pilots and galactic villains completely killed by quantum teleportation, the ex-star pilot currently named Dashford Pierce is struggling to find his identity in a changing universe.

Then, a face from his past returns and makes him an offer he can’t refuse: take part in just one teeny weeny, slightly illegal, daring heist, and not only will he have the means to start the new life he craves, but also save his childhood hero from certain death.

How hard could that be? If you need to ask – you don’t know Dashford Pierce.

Before long, Pierce is surrounded by peril, and forced to partner with the very same supervillains he’d spent his heroic career thwarting. But when he’s confronted by the uncomfortable truth that star pilots might not have been the force for good they had intended to be, he begins to wonder if the villains hadn’t had the right idea all along….

Review

WILL DESTROY THE GALAXY FOR CASH by Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw is the scond book in the Jacques McKeown series. The series is about a washed up space hero who lost his job after teleportation (quan-tunneling) wiped out the necessity for spaceships. The first book was an absolute treat and I immediately picked up the second one in the series. This is one of those series that is best listened to in audiobook form because Ben Croshaw’s voice is so distinctive as well as so much of his humor tied into his delivery.

The premise for this volume is that our protagonist has unfortunately found himself impersonating the fictional Jack McKeown, world famous author-adventurer, who the protagonist bitterly loathes because all of said adventurer’s adventures are plagarized from other star pilots (like himself). A life of absolute luxury and wealth seem like a poor way of torturing our hero but he can’t bring himself to enjoy any of it knowing that it comes from pretending to be someone he’s not.

This all becomes extra-twisted as Warden, “Jack’s” employer from the last book wants to hire him for a job that suspiciously sounds like a heist. Specifically a heist of Jimmy Henderson, boy mob boss, as he pays for McKeown Con. It’s supposed to be for a cure that will help the protagonist’s father-figure/mentor, Robert Blaze, but you can never take anything as it seems in these books.

I really enjoyed the heist crew of this book and Derby, a self-styled gentleman thief, and Malcolm Sturb, a nebbish mad scientist who invented the setting’s equivalent of the Borg. Oh and he was also the protagonist’s archnemesis. The three of them play off one another well and also underscore the fact that so much of the series is about men playing dress up as well as trying to pass themselves off as the heroes of their own narrative.

Fans of the original more or less know what to expect with the sequel. It’s a kind of zany Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy travel through the bizarre world where space piloting was a brief Golden Age of Sci-Fi/Flash Gordon-esque time of heroes before popping like a soap bubble. Sort of like the Wild West. However, the question of whether the star pilots were ever actually that heroic in the first place is repeatedly brought up. Were they actually heroes or just guys living out their adolescent fantasies on worlds that hadn’t discovered steam power?

Ben Croshaw is a fantastic narrator and performer but he’s also a great writer of comedy and this comes from someone who writes comedy for a living. His word-building isn’t bad either and it more or less hangs together. Things may be absurd or silly but they’re never such for its own sake but as a commentary on the driving forces of capitalism and human pride.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic follow-up to the original novel and manages to capture most of the magic. The books have something to say about wish-fulfillment in fiction but I’m not sure it’s wholly negative. After all, the star pilots are mostly heroes. It’s just some of them weren’t at times.

Available here

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