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Bikini Planet

David Garnett

ROC / New American Library /Penguin Putnam

US Mass Market Paperback First

ISBN 0-451-45860-5

279 Pages ; $5.95

Date Reviewed: 02-15-02

Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel

David Garnett Bikini Planet



Science Fiction

02-14-02, 12-06-02

Silly has a long history in science fiction. Well, maybe not long, but important. On second thought, maybe not important, but silly science fiction has been written before, and if 'Bikini Planet' is any evidence, it will be written again. David Garnett has edited 'New Worlds', one of the most influential series of science fiction anthologies. But even that tough work couldn't have prepared him for this. A few glasses of champagne would more likely have done the trick. That and some girls in tiny bikinis.

And even though champagne makes me personally, ill, 'Bikini Planet' made me, in fact, laugh. Doug Adams is surely the best known purveyor of silly science fiction these days, though a few old fogies might remember a gent named Kurt Vonnegut, who, back in the day, wrote a novel titled 'Sirens of Titan'. This novel was the basis for an Al Stewart song. Neither has much to do with David Garnett's 'Bikini Planet', which actually shares more with some of Stanislaw Lem's sillier moments, though most of those are a bit more cerebral, where 'Bikini Planet', tends to the uh, carnal.

In fact what might surprise the reader most is that 'Bikini Planet', for all the cheese of the cover and the endless jokes inside, actually culminates in a very elaborate "wedding". I'm not making this up; that was David Garnett's job, he made it up and put it near the end of the book. And I'm not talking a cheapie Las Vegas wedding, though one of the characters is trying to create a planetary version of Vegas. I'm talking a huge, all stops pulled wedding that would make any potential mother-in-law drool with envy. It's really a shocker.

Also shocking are the huge slabs of dialogue in this novel that run like lines from a 'Naked Gun in Space' movie. Garnett's been hanging out with talented guys for a while now, and it's clearly rubbed off on him. The question you have to ask yourself is this: "What kind of person reads 'Bikini Planet'?" You know who you are, and if you're so inclined, the book is small enough to put in a pocket. That is a book in your pocket, isn't it?