Review – John Rockman and the Trials of Galactar

I don’t usually review books (see post why here). This one is an exception. I kept having to stop and put it down, because I was enjoying it that much.

John rockman

John Rockman and the Trials of Galactar is brought to you by the people behind @AwfulFantasy (follow them if you’re not already), and just like their Awful Fantasy tweets, John Rockman is deliciously dreadful. Unfortunately, I started reading this book because I had a bit of time to kill before an interview. Bad move. I laughed so hard that I cried, and ended up going to it all teary and mascara-smeared. Thanks for that.

I can see why this book wouldn’t be for everyone. It is really, really bad. It is so bad that only an exceptionally good author could have written something so gloriously awful. Another reviewer said they imagined Bruce Campbell as Rockman in a movie version, and… yes! May the gods of Hollywood make this a thing. Please.

Rockman is the manliest hero ever to hero. He is muscular and hairy and oh-so-stern. His medium-length brown hair is permanently rustled by the wind. Love interest Maria (of the weak Femail race) is silly and fluttery and heaving-bosomy. The bad guy is camp and ridiculous. It is chock full full of utterly ridiculous metaphors. (Rockman shot awake like a fast blooming flower in fast forward. But he was restricted, like a bunch of bees were on him, waiting for his pollen to become available. He realized he was tied up again.)

It is just perfect.

Then there’s the writing style. It’s not just the story and the characters which are awful. I suspect the authors have done a lot of critiquing of awful sci-fi. They get bad writing spot on, but in a really good way.

When I was reading it, I kept coming across fantastic lines and thinking: ‘I have to quote that in the review’ (that is when I wasn’t putting my kindle down and quoting at whoever happened to be closest). The problem is that I am tempted to quote the whole damn book. Every line is a gem.

Here are a few of my faves:

Strange spaceships occupied most of the other docking strips. Some were round like a flying saucer, but others were not like that at all.

Rockman’s muscles were indeed hairy, which is just the sort of texture a warrior needs. It provides the perfect amount of wind resistance to stand your ground when the gusts of the Spaceworm’s breath thunder across the pains of Galactar. Also, women find it irresistible.

He took another deep breath to consolidate his feelings into one lump feeling: resolve. He quickly did the math and figured out that he had just lumped about ten feelings into his resolve reserve. That should be more than enough to finish the mission with resolve remaining. His face grew stern with the lack of other feelings. His spacesuit shifted.

And the best of all?

Rockman wished he had his laser pistol about now. Yeah, I know. Not immediately hilarious, other than being a bit of a trope. Read the book. You’ll get it.

If you’re fond of cheesy B movies, bad puns, and daft metaphors, this is the book for you. Now I’m off to buy the next in the John Rockman series…


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