Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Book" Review: Space Casey (season 1) by Christiana Ellis


Casey-- that's not her real name, and she's not about to tell you her real name-- is a con-woman tired of being stuck on Io. So, true to her nature, she steals a ship. Little does she know that this ship has a more sophisticated AI than anything she's ever come across. And the guy she stole it from? Well, he wasn't human. Suddenly, Casey finds herself lost out in a much greater galaxy than she ever thought there was, and home... well, that just seems completely out of reach.

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from iTunes:

Space Casey tells the story of a fast-talking con-artist, 200 years in the future, who steals the wrong spaceship and finds herself thousands of light years from home. It’ll take all her smarts and more than a little luck to weasel her way out of this one.


This story falls into a little crack in science-fiction that I personally haven't seen a whole ton of. Humanity has expanded into space, exploring our solar system, but we haven't yet managed to get out and really see the galaxy yet. We've barely left our own front yard, and we have no clue what could be out there, if there's life, or anything. Manking has yet to emerge as a spacefaring race, and I absolutely LOVED that Ellis picked this sort of era as the backdrop for Space Casey. Aliens aren't run-of-the-mill-- we don't even know if there are aliens at this point. Oh sure, we've got spaceports on the moons of our outlying planets, but we're just babies taking their first steps, with no clue what bigger things are going on out there. It's almost like the missing link of sci-fi, between us now and the time when space travel and aliens become everyday things.


It didn't take me long to realize Space Casey isn't a book. This was confirmed in the Q & A episode of the podcast when it was mentioned this was an intended-for-audio production. It's a good thing, because I kept wondering how on Earth-- or, considering the subject matter, how off Earth-- would all this greatness come across in print? The answer is, it couldn't. The audio production, the ambient noises of spaceship, the sound effects, the voices, everything, came together to make this what it was. I don't think print could have done Space Casey justice.

That said, I was a little shocked when it just... began... at the very start of episode 1. I guess I was expecting an intro, just saying, "You're listening to Space Casey by Christiana Ellis" or something, but I got over that shock pretty quickly and fell into the story.

All in all, the style of the actual storytelling is great. This is honestly performed like someone is telling you a story, not like there's some narrator telling you what happened to someone else. Casey is the one speaking to you here, and it's great! The sounds effects, voice modulations for the actors, and everything just work to create a little pocket of a galaxy where anything can happen-- and it usually does in an unexpected and somewhat absurd way. You'll get some good laughs out of this!

My Thoughts

It didn't take long to listen to Space Casey. The story itself is only 10 episodes, and most of them run 20 minutes or less. So this is just a couple hours, but believe me, you'll want to take the extra 24 minutes to at least listen to the blooper reel, if not also the Q & A episode. What's great is that yes, I got some great laughs out of the bloopers, but I got some equally great laughs out of the story itself. The mess-ups weren't all that were funny, so that's a big plus. If you're into sci-fi at all, and if you like humor thta sometimes touches on the clicheed and then teases itself about being clicheed, you're in for a treat with Space Casey.

I honestly never really knew what to expect plotwise here, but that made it very easy to relate to what Casey herself was going through. She was completely lost, blindsided by the universe, and heaven help her find her way out of this mess. What's even greater is that a good bit of the characters you meet along the way reappear at the climax, resulting in a huge mess because-- well, Casey lies a lot. So when everything she's lied about starts criss-crossing with the characters she's interacted with... well, it's not all that easy to sort out. Episode 10 was pretty great that way. Then again, the whole thing was. It's some good fun if you're in for some laughs on a road trip or something. There is a little language, but nothing over-the-top. It's cursing based on frustration, and there's nothing overly offensive or extraneous. Basically, it's not cursing just for the sake of cursing or for shock value. And there isn't much of it.

Would I Recommend This Book? Book? Well, as I mentioned, it's not really a book. This is an audio "drama". It's an aural performance. And yes, I would recommend it. It's funny and not really too terribly long. And the added bonus of the blooper reel is great. I'd give Space Casey a fashion-developing 3 of 5 stars.

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