Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Blonde Bombshell Blonde Bombshell
by Tom Holt

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Alan Robson

With Blonde Bombshell, Tom Holt enters darkest Douglas Adams territory, and doesn't manage it very well. This is Holt's first SF novel – all his previous works have fallen firmly into the humorous fantasy field, but now he has attempted to write a humorous science fiction novel, with mixed success...

A bomb is on the way to destroy the Earth. It becomes uncertain as to the morality of its mission and decides to investigate further before detonating itself. The bomb has been sent from Ostar where the dominant canine race live in harmony with their pet humans (who they have trained to throw sticks really well). The director of the institute that launched the bomb has a human called Spot. The dogs want to destroy the Earth because the human music broadcast willy-nilly into space is disturbing their peace and quiet. And so a bomb which later develops a conscience is sent on a mission of destruction.

The bomb disguises itself as a literal blonde bombshell – Lucy Pavlov is the beautiful, talented, wealthy, CEO of PaySoft Industries. PaySoft is the revolutionary operating system that runs on every computer in the world. Unfortunately she doesn't know that she's a bomb. She's held that fact back from herself. But she does know that she's sexy and super talented. Plainly she's just Bill Gates vision of himself, only with different plumbing.

There is much observational humour on the human condition and the book is full of cultural references and replete with (usually rather juvenile) jokes about our interaction with computers. This is exactly the kind of thing that Douglas Adams did so well (and which Tom Holt does so poorly in comparison) The plot is (or perhaps more accurately the plots are) complex and intertwined and it is far from clear until very late on if, or even how, the threads that he weaves are going to come together. Indeed, I am far from convinced that they do.

This is very minor Tom Holt which suffers by comparison to similarly themed stories that other people have done much better.

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