Title: The Vague Ship
Author: Adam West
Publication date: October 16, 2018
Genre: Satire, Humor
One Sentence Summary: The Vague Ship with it’s crew of two are headed away from Contradictation Land and into the stars, only to crash onto a completely different world.
Some time ago, I read West’s short story, ContraDictation. I thought it was a fun read, but suffered badly from poor editing, so chose to not review it. It was fun, though. West didn’t hold it against me, and asked if I would review The Vague Ship now that it’s been edited. I was happy to return to his rather unique world (in Contradictation Land you wink out of existence if you contradict yourself), so was more than happy to review it.
A Humorous Ride Into the Unknown
Bren and the Vague Ship’s captain Gina are bound for the stars in the Vague Ship. They’re off to explore what might be out there, and encounter more than they thought when they end up crash landing on another world. Their ship destroyed and their purpose halted, they set out to explore this new world and just might have found a way to repair their ship.
The Vague Ship is quite a humorous read. Told from the perspective of Bren, who seems quite dense in a most delightful way, the story keeps going and unfolding and the reader, along with Bren simply feels like they’re along for the ride. Unlike Contradictation Land, they cannot contradict themselves out of existence, though the world they find themselves on is similarly bizarre. Because the story is told through the eyes of Bren, it felt absurdly funny, though I also felt a serious undertone to the whole story from the other characters, especially Gina. Something deeper lurked under the surface, but the fact that it’s told from Bren’s perspective keeps it from drifting from the overall humorous tone.
Overall, this is quite a ridiculous story, made all the more ridiculous by the main character, but so much fun anyways. A quick read full of funny quirks and action that just keeps rolling along, there’s never a truly dull point. Instead, the world and the characters are so different and unique, that it made me want to keep reading on to find out what happens to our hapless main character, and if they ever make it off of the world they’ve crash landed on.
They Try Not to Think Too Hard
Bren is our utterly dense and ridiculous main character. He cheerfully does his duty while choosing to understand very little of it due to his very strong training in how to do his job properly. He has some moments where he feels more in-tune with what’s going on, and then he, very amusingly, blanks out. And always when he would need to do some thinking. It saves him from having to think and keeps him quite cheerful and funnily oblivious. His is not a thinking kind of character, which makes the adventure fun and sometimes exasperating. How Gina has managed to put up with him is beyond me! But I adored him anyways because he was still very sweet and very loyal, and could really land himself in some interesting trouble.
I felt The Vague Ship was really all about Bren. Where Gina felt more serious and focused on the mission, Bren seemed to be there more to have a good time, follow orders, and not think too hard, or at all. I did wish to get more from Gina’s perspective since she tended to figure things out more than Bren did and I would have enjoyed a more serious layer, but I also couldn’t get over just how fun and ridiculous Bren was, so I did love that the story focused around him. Everyone else’s reactions to him were priceless!
A New World
The Vague Ship is, more or less, split between the ship and the world Bren and Gina crashed onto. I really have no idea what the ship looked like, but I kind of liked the image of a sailing ship crossed with a spaceship that I developed in my head the more I read. It was both practical and ridiculous, which seemed to fit the story quite well. Though one of Bren’s jobs was to rotate it every so often, so I’d quite like to see that.
The world was more interesting, and more grounded in what it familiar to us readers. Bren and Gina get to cross part of it and meet some of the inhabitants and a very interesting creature. It did seem like any other kind of world, but stream-lined so the details are sparse, yet easy to fill in. It was a bit generic, but it served the story well, and I liked how it was both familiar and foreign.
Short and Fun, Though Ridiculous
The Vague Ship is quite short, so it’s a very quick and easy read. It’s also a rather ridiculous read, but in a fun way. Bren is endlessly amusing and entertaining, and he really stole the show for me. The story did seem to move a little too fast, though, which is probably due to Bren’s blank outs that then meant the reader is not privy to anything that happens during them, and sometimes it sounded very interesting. But then Bren would be his goofball self and I would forget because the story keeps moving and Bren and Gina are definitely on a mission. Overall, a fun read.
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