By Lawrence Schoen; Read by William Coon
12 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Eloquent Voice
Themes: / Science fiction / Aliens / Eco-terrorism /
We meet The Amazing Conroy at the beginning of his career as a stage hypnotist. He’s been stranded on an alien planet after making a delivery as a courier. This situation in and of itself begins to let the reader know about author Lawrence M. Schoen’s talent in combining the mundane with the unexpected. Certainly, I’d never have imagined earning my way around the universe as a stage hypnotist.
The book proper is set in Conroy’s present where he has smuggled an alien life form to Earth. Rarely has an alien been more adorable than the Buffalito Dog, Reggie. He is Conroy’s personal pet and the leader of the rest of the Buffalito pack which forms the foundation of Conroy’s corporation. Conroy has become incredibly wealthy by renting the services of his Buffalitos which literally eat anything and fart oxygen.
At the time we join the story, the Mexican president wants a demonstration of Conroy’s services to convince his government to clean up toxic waste sites. However, this plan is put in jeopardy by an anti-alien, eco-terrorist group with no qualms about using extreme force to achieve their goal of banning aliens and their technology from the earth. To make matters worse, Conroy has been having mysterious dreams which he must decipher in order to fulfill his destiny of keeping the Earth from being destroyed.
These are only a few of the features of this entertaining novel which include the joys of Mexican sandwiches, a huge region of temporal instability in Texas, and a bus tour of Mayan ruins that includes one of the most creative alien races I’ve ever read about.
There is a zany charm about this novel which makes any threats seem less serious, although I was extremely curious about how Conroy was going to fulfill his destiny. The oddest but imaginative elements come together in the most ordinary of ways and somehow all hang together pretty well to form a story that kept me interested.
It helps that I simply love William Coon’s narration although he does occasionally struggle with an accent (the Texan drawl was bravely attempted but not quite right). However, that is the only one that didn’t ring quite true for me. His reading is half the charm of Conroy’s character. This is the first time I’ve heard him use different voices for different characters and I feel sure that I wouldn’t be able to read the actual book without hearing Coon’s narration reading along in my mind’s ear.
The story is not always imaginatively plotted, perhaps because so much else was going on that the author could only juggle so many balls in the air. I was able to peg the main eco-terrorist quite early in the story and hoped against hope (as it turns out) that the author would be able to sacrifice a character necessary to the story’s integrity. However, there were other surprises that I didn’t expect so it isn’t as if the entire plot was obvious.
Buffalito Destiny is a great deal of fun even with a few plot glitches. And I’m ok with that.
Posted by Julie D.