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Tom Holt

Orbit (2010)

ISBN 978 1 84149 778 5

Reviewed by Alexandra Pierce, June 2010

I have long been a fan of Tom Holt’s humorous novels (and his historical ones too). His titles in themselves have often drawn a giggle – Who’s Afraid of Beowulf, Faust Among Equals, Odds and Gods. There have been gods, magicians, the Underworld, and even Jesus’ younger brother Kevin. Rarely aliens, though, which is one way in which Holt has been differentiated from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Perhaps this is where Blonde Bombshell goes wrong. Because it does go wrong; not with a bang, but with a whimper.

The fundamental premise: aliens don’t like Earth because our music (reaching them through the ether) is driving them nuts. As a perfectly natural consequence, they send a bomb to destroy the Earth. In fact, they send two bombs, because the first for some reason failed to explode. The second bomb (equipped with an AI, just like the first) needs to figure out what happened to the first, and then decide how best to meet its own mission objective of destroying the planet.

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