BLONDE BOMBSHELL is a clever, funny, tirelessly inventive, apocalyptic leg-hump of a book. Tom Holt may be the most imaginative satirist to land on our shores since Douglas Adams’
— Christopher Moore
‘One of the most ludicrously funny intergalactic shaggy dog stories ever told’
— Daily Express
‘A fast-paced, silly romp from a very clever author, with some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments’
— News of the World
‘One of the world’s top comedy writers’
‘A nifty comic read, fizzing with one-liners… enjoyably deranged’
‘An exceptionally well-written first sci-fi comedy novel’
— SciFi Now
You can play the Blonde Bombshell game, Blondesweeper, for free, or read on below for the first chapter.
On the planet where a dog’s best friend is his man, the director of the Institute for Interstellar Exploration is taking Spot for a walk.
He picks up a stick and throws it. Spot scuttles happily away, yapping and prancing, and returns a moment later with the stick in his mouth. The director smiles affectionately, and tries to take back the stick. Spot growls. It’s a playful growl, but there’s something in it the director doesn’t quite like; something very old, recalling an injustice. He frowns.
“Bad boy, Spot,” he says.
Spot is actually a singularly apt name for this dog’s man – if you can call him that; he’s only seventeen, little more than a puppy, and the unsightly facial blemishes that give his name their aptness will most likely clear up in a year or two. The important thing to instil in a man at this age is instinctive respect and unquestioning obedience. “Bad boy,” the director therefore repeats. “Drop it.Drop the stick.”
Spot backs away, head down, rump elevated, firmly gripping the stick, a study in appealing mischief. Naturally. Over countless thousands of years, ever since insatiable curiosity drove the first wild monkey to peer in at the cave door and enlightened self-interest induced it to stick around, the Ostar have bred humans to be cute, lovable, endearing. They’ve filtered the gene pool and manipulated the bloodlines to promote great big puppy eyes, comic-mournful expressions, big floppy ears, sweet little button noses. And mischief too, of course. The puppy knows – it’s bred in the bone – that its job is to defy authority up to a point; and then give in. When the command is given to let go of the stick, he must reaffirm his owner’s self-image as lord of creation and master of the universe, in return for which he gets a pat and a biscuit, and the eternal contract between the two species is thereby endlessly renewed.
The director, contemplating this, frowns. Irony, or what?
Even so. He glances at the chronometric calibrator (call it a watch) clamped to the back of his paw by a thousand too-small-tosee gravimetric tethers. Round about now, he tells himself. Which is just another way of saying, There’s still time, just about. One call; you could stop it. This doesn’t have to happen.
Maybe Spot has some kind of basic empathic ability. Hundreds of human-owners right across Ostar will swear blind that their pets can read their minds, though a more reasonable explanation would be an acute instinctive awareness of their owners’ body language. Same thing. Spot is looking up at the director with huge worried brown eyes, sensing the doubt, the disquiet. He makes a faint whinnetting noise in the back of his throat.
In spite of himself, the director smiles, wags his tail reassuringly. “It’s all right, Spot,” he says. “Nobody’s going to hurt you.”
Quite. Nobody’s going to hurt you. But maybe your billionth cousins a billion times removed won’t be so lucky.