Genrenauts: The Shootout Solution

December 28, 2015 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

Genrenauts The Shootout SolutionGenrenauts: The Shootout Solution by Michael R. Underwood


The idea behind this novella is an intriguing one. In it, the world is orbited by other worlds, in another dimension, that are populated by stories, broken down by genre. When the genres on those worlds get off-kilter, it feeds back into the real world, causing real-life problems. Enter the genrenauts, whose job it is to go to those planets and set things back on course to keep things right in our world.

I thought this story was OK, but the premise reminds me too much of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, and it isn’t anywhere near as clever, intriguing, or good as that series. Since the worlds are defined by genre, then tropes from that genre are commonly found, making the story feel a little too cliched and stereotypical to make much of an impact. It’s OK to make a parody, and it’s OK to use those tropes to make a statement about them through that parody, but that isn’t how this story felt. It seems like Underwood wants to make this a serious story, and the use of the stereotypes in turn makes the story feel lazy.

To Underwood’s credit, there is something larger than just the one story taking place in The Shootout Solution. He hints at something larger, more significant, happening behind the scenes, enough so that this novella feels more like exposition, even as it’s a self-contained story. Underwood notes that this is the first in a series of five novellas about the genrenauts, and while this one didn’t impress me as much as I’d hoped, I’m into it enough to see what happens next. I get the feeling that they will improve as the series continues and Underwood gets more into the stories of the genrenauts and less into their adventures.

I would recommend this story to fans of Jasper Fforde, with the caveat that it won’t be as good as any of the Thursday Next books. It’s similar enough, and different enough, that it should be entertaining. For 99 cents on Kindle, it’s hard to go wrong with it.



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