Date Night on Union Station by E. M. Foner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Date Night on Union Station by E.M. Foner
Humor is subjective and I always have to keep that in mind when I read something that is billed as good comic science fiction. Maybe I'm thick and just have a problem seeing the humor. When I think of good humor in diplomacy and science fiction I always settle back into images of Keith Laumer's Retief series of books. Well move over Retief because Kelly Frank has just hit the space ways.
I really expected this to turn into a comic romance in a great hurry because the first thing we find out is that Kelly's co-workers have decided to get her a subscription to the stations dating service. But before we let things digress too much we have to stipulate that this is Union Space Station and it's owned and operated by the Stryx who have sponsored the humans in the attempt to uplift them into space. And Kelly has been installed as the acting consul or acting Ambassador for Earth. She has one major problem with most of the alien races trying to understand why she 'acting' out the part. The station has a Stryx intelligence named Gryph who controls the station and a part of that, which interfaces with Kelly, calls itself Libby although the various persona of the station like to remain separated in a sort of anonymous way.
Kelly of course is single and the agency that does the matchmaking (secretly run by Libby) is at best a dysfunctional analogue to Jane Austin's Emma. Every date for Kelly seems to double as a work assignment with little hope that she'll ever meet anyone who she might actually enjoy being with. But not to worry because her coworker Donna has two pre-teen daughters who will call her Aunt Kelly and will surely help one way or another. The girls do manage at least to make some money out of selling flowers to many of the people using the dating services.
Kelly is finding her pre paid dating service is costing her more than it's worth and would be interfering with her whole job as ambassador if it weren't for the fact that it seems to slowly be working her around to investigation into a major problem that Earth has at the moment. Being that Earth is such a primitive planet it has to rely on the trade of such quaint wares as kitchen utensils such as cork screws and can openers; but recent knockoffs produced by aliens have started to cut into profits and the poor quality is giving their trade a bad name. The Stryx rules have no prohibition to these alien counterfeiting practices so Kelly has to find a more elegant solution beyond just finding and identifying the culprits.
This is a really fun and intelligent read with the whole mess actually making a certain twisted sense as it all plays out; and Kelly's eventual solution might leave her homeless and penniless, but there is light at the end of the corridor.
As it is this is less romance and less science fiction and a great bit of tongue in cheek type humor while watching Kelly have to deal with aliens who seem to think...well, in some alien manner.
Great casual read to fill a night with elements that should satisfy the average Sci-Fi lover and some of the SFF lovers and maybe even a few of the less stringent SF lovers.
For good entertainment I recommend this and any other of Kelly's adventures. Have a fun read.
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