Oops, I almost missed reading Oops the Mighty Gurgle by RamG Vallath, though this book had been lying on my desk for long.
I have never been a fan of science fiction, and I had put this book off to the point of forgetting about it. With that kind of reluctance, I started this book. But then, certain things come along to question one’s prejudices, and in my case, this book has done that.
A little bit of the story before I delve deep into my reactions towards the book.
Oops is a gurgle1 from a future time and different dimension. He lands on planet Earth in the vicinity of a park where Chuck and Kia (who are buddies, neighbours and classmates) are playing. Oops has a mission to save planet Earth from the groinks2 and Chuck and Kia (with an IQ of 179), along with Floppy, Chuck’s golden retriever are picked to assist him.
They board the Critter, which is a spitter3 and are off on visits to various places in various eras and planets so as to achieve their mission. Sometimes, they vamooze4, on others, they are ground into a different being, and on yet other times, they perform dimension jumps or suicide jumps.
Their first visit is to Antarctica to convince the Empress of the penguins, Yeeks, about the need to save the humans and then seek her support. When Yeeks proposes to Oops and wants to marry him, they execute a planned escape from the situation, only to realize that Critter has an issue.
To repair Critter the spitter, they land on Holibutt, where everyone is obsessed with their backsides and have their brains in their butts. Here unfolds another spectacular story of another miraculous escape, which keeps one roaring with laughter.
In the meanwhile, Attila, the boss of Oops is on his trail because the mission is not backed by DESPAIR5 and Oops has set out on an unauthorised trip.
Notwithstanding such an order, they move on to Pstye and in particular to the city of Blandings (does it ring a bell?) Here they learn that the groinks2 are angry at humans because of a game the humans play where the groinks2 are insulted and moved out of their habitat. So, they have developed a game called Angrier pigs which when uploaded via hyperwave6, can make the humans so addicted that they will fail to do anything else, thus bringing the human race to a halt.
The most exciting part of the story is showcased here in a series of events which keeps one glued to the book and counting the number of Porculeses7. How does the foursome manage to stop the groinks from unleashing such a lethal weapon on the humans?
What happens to Attila who is on their trail? How do they stop the Napoleon of the Squatters from his mission to destroy the humans?
Do do read the book to find out. In the process, enjoy a few hours in an exotic world masterfully crafted by the author.
+ + +
- Wat ani magee nay shun! For the uninitiated, that was gurglese for: The author has masterfully blended concepts of science into a fantastically crafted world and presented it beautifully garnished with an excellent sense of humour.
- Plus one to Ram G Vallath for having made me enjoy a book involving science fiction. I had a strong prejudice against science fiction. I realize after reading this book, that it is more due to science fiction (usually) painting a dystopian picture of the future.
- The characterization of the protagonists Chuck, Kia and Oops with their unique traits has been very neatly done. My personal thanks for showing Kia to have IQ 179 instead of Chuck, thus breaking some stereotypes.
- Haven’t spared anyone, have you Mister? What with references to Maria Sharapova’s grunts and Pig Wodehouse and Poke and George Boarwell, one has to keep one’s eyes open so as not to miss the humour laced underneath.
- The Holibutt episode had me in splits is an understatement. An absolute masterpiece in itself, not just for the idea, but also for the way it yields to wordplay like Brainless bums7. Rocking!
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- Honestly, I wonder if middle readers can understand all the nuances and references in the book! As I say this, I am not sure if I have not missed any! A rereading is due.
- gurgle (n): A gurgle is a pumpkin-like being, about, three feet high and two feet wide, with two huge eyes, two large ears and a pig-like snout. It has an ever-smiling wide mouth, two pudgy arms and two stubby legs (See book cover). A gurgle belongs to a future time in a different dimension where gurgles are the dominant intelligent species in the universe.
- groink (n): Groinks are uncouth pigs who evolved in a parallel dimension. They turned green with envy over many generations.
- spitter (n): A spitter is a ship that is used by the gurgles for time travel. It has a controller program that has a personality called Critter (Controller of spitter). It can transform to any shape including that of a cow/whale and show only a portion of itself, holding the rest in hyperspace.
- vamooze (v): It is the process of transporting a being from one place to another using the universal transporter.
- DESPAIR (acr.): Department of Space-time for Analysing and Improving Reality.
- Hyperwave (n): Hyperwave is the interstellar communication network.
- porcules (n pr.): Porcules is a groink and a top squatter , i.e., a groink who believes in destroying the human race. Due to spitter’s ability to grind any being into an other being, there is an army of Porculeses created in the story.
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Duckbill in return for an honest review. Thanks Duckbill.