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The Absconded Ambassador: Genrenauts Episode 2 Paperback – February 23, 2016
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Praise for Episode 1 in the series: THE SHOOTOUT SOLUTION
"Who hasn't wanted to imagine themselves parachuting into a story gone wrong and putting it back on track? It's storytelling as heroism, genre savviness as power. Endless fun. Catnip for genre geeks." ― Marie Brennan, World Fantasy nominated author of A Natural History of Dragons
“A clever, exciting, and seriously fun twist on portal fantasy that sends a geeky stand-up comedian into the Wild West. Sign me up to be a Genrenaut, too!” ―Delilah S. Dawson, author of the Blud series and Hit
"A Tardis of a novella, The Shootout Solution is packed full of ideas... The possibilities are endless... Tor.com continues to blaze a bookish trail in terms of both originality and diversity. More like this, please."
- Geek Syndicate
"Snappy dialogue, twisting plot turns, and efficiently written action scenes combine with a strongly realized protagonist that reminds me of a old friend from my art school days, not a cardboard cut-out of the “strong female character” trope."
"The entire book is just FUN"
- Page Turners Inc.
"A wonderfully executed idea that uses the strengths and background of the writer to great effect… An excellent start to an exciting series, and another highlight of Tor’s novella program.”
- SF Signal
"The Shootout Solution is Genre blending fun."
- Fangirl Nation
“I enjoyed this book tremendously. Leah is a smart, savvy, snarky young woman whose character nicely balances the calm goodheartedness of Shirin, the experienced competency of King, and the attractive cockiness of Roman. They make a great team.”
- Fang Fiction
"We like nerdy Leah and were able to immediately identify with her. She should return for many more episodes!"
- Bull Spec
"I can see this really appealing to readers who are into browsing TV Tropes, or who liked Ready Player One but want a more satisfying experience."
- One Last Sketch
"The concept of Genrenauts is awesome."
- The Book Plank
"It’s told with a light touch ― the debt to Leverage and The Librarians is obvious (and readily acknowledged), with a good dose of action, a hint of a looming catastrophe/conspiracy. There’s a good deal of literary/narrative theory under-girding this whole project ― it’s not as frivolous as it may seem."
- Irresponsible Reader
"It’s got a clever, rather cool central idea. It has a plot built around that which keeps up suspense, whilst giving you a protagonist to care about, portrayed well, in a world which feels believable – perhaps by virtue of the setting for that world. I’d like to see more of all of the characters, and really, more of the setting in general, but that’s more recommendation than complaint!"
- SF & F reviews
From the Author
This book is part of the Genrenauts series, where a team of story specialists travels to worlds based on Westerns, Science Fiction, Romance, and other genres. Their mission is to find and fix broken stories. Because if they fail, the ripples from the story worlds will cause havoc and devastation on their home world.
For fans of Westworld, Leverage, and Redshirts!
Complete Genrenauts series order:
#2 - The Absconded Ambassador - amzn.com/B0166PX1VM
#3 - The Cupid Reconciliation - amzn.com/B01G45CFRA
#4 - The Substitute Sleuth - amzn.com/B01GDD5W5K
#5 - The Failed Fellowship - amzn.com/B01IL488GY
Find out when the next book is released - michaelrunderwood.com/newsletter/
Top Customer Reviews
Space X shuttles are crashing! Technology is going on the fritz! This can only mean a story breach on Sci-Fi World, and a job for...The Genrenauts!
Dr. King and Company are traveling across dimensions to tackle SF story tropes and save an abducted ambassador before she can sign an agreement to form an interstellar alliance aboard the Ahura-3 space station.
As he did with the first installment, The Shootout Solution, Michael R. Underwood has crafted a loving ode to pulp genre fiction set against a slowly developing meta narrative, and peppered it with a few spot-on pop culture references and a whole lot of fun. Fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 should find plenty to enjoy here, the story rife with diplomatic shenanigans, sci-fi action sequences, and lots of loose flowing fun.
One of the things that I'm really growing to appreciate with this still-young series is the character's own recognition of genre tropes and plot conveniences that define the story worlds they visit, and the ways they harness those familiar storytelling devices to further their own ends. There's also a nice bit of subtle commentary on how genres overlap, allowing us, the audience, to accept particular tropes as-is thanks to a particular bit of story telling osmosis. The Action Hero mold can fit nicely alongside other familiar tropes in Sci-Fi World due to similar generic devices demanded by the plot. This allows our Earth Prime heroes to defy all kinds of logic in the various story worlds because we the readers are attuned to expect those absences of logic, and it creates a fun bit of meta fiction.
Fun, of course, is of the utmost importance in these stories, and you can tell Underwood is keeping himself mighty entertaining with these characters and the set pieces they encounter. Sticking to the episodic nature of the series, he furthers the overarching narrative in inches and gives us a few new wrinkles and teases character backstories just in time to --
NEXT TIME, ON GENRENAUTS!
Sometimes there’s PowerPoint.
Mike actually taps into one of my favorite sub-genres, what I call Bureaucracy Porn. Books like The Goblin Emperor, Articles of the Federation (Star Trek), and The Outback Stars peel back the layers and ask questions like “How does the King actually run a kingdom in an Epic Fantasy?” and “What does a junior officer actually do in a Space Opera?”
Mike’s POV character Leah Tang is brand new to the organization. As with most of us starting off, she doesn’t know what the heck she’s doing, relying on her ability to read situations and off her penchant for sarcasm. That’s a character I can relate to.
As with the previous installment, Mike uses his love of genre to spin a story that would feel right at home in a modern day episode of Star Trek, ramping up quickly, doing it’s thing, and then resolving. And just like later season DS9, we get a set of plot threads that we have to tune in next week to see the progression of.
While the plot alone would be a little threadbare, it’s experiencing it through the eyes of genre-savvy characters that really make this series special.
Final Verdict: Thoroughly Enjoyed and I’m definitely in for the next one in Rom Com Land!
Bonus Author Question:
BF: We’ve talked before about your love of Hamilton. Any chance the Genrenauts end up in Broadway Musical land?
Mike Underwood: I want to make this happen really hard, but I’d need to figure out how to convey the feeling of the music and the dancing. If I manage to get a Genrenauts TV show made, that kind of episode would be very high on my priorities.
More unorthodox takes on Genre Tropes:Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination edit by John Joseph Adams
(Other reviews on blackfishreviews.wordpress.com)