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Felix and the Frontier: Space without the Spiff

Hello. My name is Enosh and I bought a smartphone. Hi Enosh. I got a great deal on a refurbished unit so at least I can sleep at night knowing I didn’t pay full retail for a device I’m not entirely convinced I need. To be completely honest I got it mostly so I could browse Reddit while on the john. I recently learned that because my wife owns a Kindle I can put the Kindle app on my phone and read books for free on the John too. As you may have guessed I am a bibliophile and as such the thought of digital books cuts me to the core. Always when I move to a new town my first order of business is to locate the library. Nothing beats a building full of the smells of a thousand decaying trees desecrated with the tales of a million worlds. Still, the library is in a part of town I rarely find time to visit and its hours are less than ideal. Plus they seemed to be more interested in stocking DVDs and computer labs than books these days. So here I am gobbling up Kindle books like caviar at the Kremlin. Most recently I finished a novella written by a man called Cheeseburger Brown entitled Felix and the Frontier.

Felix is an unassuming humanoid robot. His job is simple. He is humanity’s first contact ambassador.  For hundreds of years humans have been sending out nanorobots to build hypergalactic bypasses, well no. More like stargates on planets all along the western spiral of the unfashionable end of the Milky Way and following in their wake is Felix. Explorer, ambassador, and living legend, Felix gates to each new planet and reports his findings. Due to the planetary divisions the plot meanders a bit and at times chapters feel completely disconnected from each other. Cheeseburger, whom I will refer to by his first name for my own amusement, could have developed the book into a full-sized novel if had simply put more effort into connecting the plot points. The disconnect is so great that the main conflict isn’t even fathomable until about 90 percent of the way through the book and the whole ending feels a bit abrupt.

The story is written completely in the second person told from Felix’s perspective, which would have caught me off guard had I not just blazed through the entirety of the Hunger Games trilogy. Second person is incredibly tricky to pull off in general, but given the solitary nature of Felix’s existence Cheeseburger pulls it off nicely. Certainly better than Suzanne Collins. Like Collins Cheeseburger’s writing is geared towards less experienced readers. Felix’s journey at times feels over simplified and rosy in an effort to appeal to younger readers and yet there are mild bouts of profanity. Mind you it’s not as noticeable as in Cheeseburger’s more widely known novel, Simon in Space. I can’t for the life of me figure out what audience Simon is geared towards. It takes place in Felix’s universe and shares a simplistic writing style, yet it is chock full of space profanity and sexual references.

Felix is an enjoyable quick read even if its attempts at raising poignant philosophical questions falls short.


2 Responses

  1. I’m very confused by your mention of profanity and sexual innuendo in Felix (or Simon actually) or saying that the complex issues in it are simple. There is NO profanity in either book. Unless you are counting the few times he says “feces”, which I’d be hard pressed to call profanity in this day and age. I can’t imagine what you are calling sexual innuendo. The story does also require an experienced reader to see past the simple set ups for the more complicated mature philosophy. As usual cheeseburger writes his stories with different levels, which I guess isn’t for everyone but it’s personally one of my favorite parts.

    • No, you’re correct. There is no profanity in either story in the same way there’s no profanity Battlestar Galactica. They’ve merely replaced the normal profane words with words that imply the words their replacing.
      I too found the complexity in Simon a joy unparalleled in much of the science fiction realm, but in Felix I found the story to be straightforward and dry. There was subtle humor but I found very little subtext of note. Perhaps now that I have a greater understanding of Felix after gaining greater insight into Cheeseburger’s universe through Simon.

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