February The Fifth

February The Fifth - Derek Haines What happens when a privileged son too low in the royal family line to be important but nonetheless still a royal, finds himself thrust towards responsibility? He goes on a galactic journey to discover where he comes from, who he is, and what he must do to become the man to lead. You ask how does an acne-faced, body odor plagued, lazy-eyed kid manage this enormous task? With the help of lizard pilots, three wise sisters, and a few other misfits tossed in for good measure. Feb, as he is called by his friends, travels the galaxy to find his way back to the beginning, literally, his family's beginning. Along the way there is lots of eating and time for three-handed Canasta with a small side of romance, but only for his sisters. Feb's got bigger things to worry about like governmental over-throws and civil unrest. This comedic sci-fi tale touches on themes of power, origins, privilege, morality and even cleverly makes use of historical details (a bonus in my department). It plays with language which establishes a unique tone and style. Moments remind me of what it might be like if Dr. Seuss wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I mean this as a compliment (in case you were wondering). It's simplicity makes it complex. For example, the bluest of the blue and the blackest of the black. There are times when writers try too hard to describe something: a color, the weather or a feeling. Sometimes, it is just blue, deep blue, royal blue or the bluest of the blues. I laughed, had fun, remembered all the characters because of their crazy names and even thought about how the author invented them -- most importantly, I think I learned something! And by the way, if you ever find yourself visiting Erde, I recommend the salmon and when in Rom, well, eat the pasta!