We’ve made it to the finals of the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition (SPSFC), and six of the seven finalists are new reads for my judging team. The farther we get into the competition, the more highly recommended each book comes–each of the seven has been hand-picked out of a 30-book slush pile by one of the ten judging teams, and each fell in the top quarter of a semifinal round consisting entirely of the books that had been hand-picked by those first-round judging teams. Every book we read from here out has multiple other bloggers singing its praises. But, as we saw with the previous two rounds, we still bring a variety of interests, likes, and dislikes to the table, and a book hitting with one reader doesn’t always mean it will hit with everyone. Along with our scores–which will be averaged with the nine other judging teams to determine the winner–we’ve done our best to explain what we like or dislike about any given book, but it’s up to the readers to try to extrapolate from our tastes to their own tastes.
Today, we’ll be looking at a multiverse comedy turned up to eleven in G.M. Nair’s Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire.
Jay’s Review and Rating
There’s not much about fiction that isn’t at least partially a matter of taste, but comedy feels like an extreme case, and Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire flits back and forth in and out of my own tastes. I really enjoy the offhand remarks in the narrative, and I never stopped being tickled by the ridiculousness of the scheme that is revealed to have set off the multiverse madness. On the other hand, the author is much more amused by things exploding than I am, and Dyer falls under a character archetype that feels to me like fingernails on a chalkboard.
While the humor clearly takes center stage, I did appreciate the work put in to make plot and character something more than cheap scaffolding for jokes. While Dyer’s character setup drove me crazy, she actually did progress in an interesting way. It’s not like we got a deep dive character study that erased the aspects that bothered me—it isn’t that sort of book—but neither was she static. And for all that the plot was over-the-top, it resolved in a way that generally made sense and provided a neat jumping-off point for further work in the series. This won’t be a hit for any reader who doesn’t click with a particular sort of humor, but there was a lot that I enjoyed and even more that I could appreciate, even if I wasn’t always the right sort of reader.
Jay has rated Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire 6.5/10. For more detail, check out his full review.
Esme’s Review and Rating
The writing and sense of humor I feel is either going to be a huge selling point for readers, or something that’s going to maybe cause a DNF. The humor is not subtle at all, and with all humor it’s either going to land or it’s not. I’d say more often than not the humor here worked for me, a few times I found myself chuckling, most of the time I just had a smile, sometimes though I did roll my eyes when it crossed over my personal line from funny to too silly/absurd to retain the comedic element for me. Sort of a suspension of disbelief issue if you will — as an example, Duckett went to the maître de at a restaurant to ask after his date and her arrival, and proceeded to ramble to her about his dates beautiful hazel eyes and her love of chocolate, or something to that affect. For me it was too awkward to be plausible dialogue in real life kind of thing. That said, the humor mostly worked for me and I did enjoy my time with it. Overall, I do recommend this to people looking for a fun time with a wacky duo.
Esme has rated Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire 7.5/10. For more detail, check out her full review.
Lilyn’s Review and Rating
This was a book that took sci-fi tropes and dealt with them in absurd fashion. It is fast-paced and filled with action. Personally, I found that it reached too much for the comedy, so much so that I felt it ruined all the good effort that had been put in to it. Humor is a subjective thing so for many readers it will work, but for many it will not.
Lilyn has rated Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire 4/10.
Bill’s Review and Rating
Duckett & Dyer follows a well known path of multi-verse discovery and exploration. It is similar in many ways to Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, going so far as to borrow a key concept to regain control that I really did not like when I read it the first time. And more than one of the universes is just insane, like what appeared this summer in Dr. Strange. I really enjoyed the progression of the characters and how they pieced things together, based on a mystery format that I have not seen in other multi-verse stories. I really enjoyed the work.
However, it was far from perfect. Michael Duckett is the male side of this buddy team and he needs a fair bit of sanding. He’s just unhappy in general and really unhappy with his partner (not romantic, but old friend) Stephanie Dyer. By the end of the book it makes some more sense as it’s clear what will happen to their relationship down the line even if they do not know. But they are basically acting like they know, and so it was hard to understand why they stayed together.
My usual conclusion for series where I liked the first book is will I read the second or not? In this case I’m conflicted and will have to wait and see. But it was a very entertaining start.
Bill has rated Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire 7/10.
Tracy’s Review and Rating
Tracy Did Not Attempt Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire.