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Beatnik Rutabagas From Beyond the Stars is a children's science fiction novel by Quentin Dodd. It falls sqarely in the comic SF category -- or perhaps not so squarely. On a continuum ranging from Terry Pratchett's well-thought out and insightful Johnny Maxwell books and Daniel Pinkwater's wild and wacky Snarkout Boys, Beatnik Rutabagas falls about two notches past the Pinkwater benchmark. Beatnik Rutabagas lowers the bar when it comes to oddball SF.

However, when it comes to silly, lowering the bar isn't always a bad thing. This is a pretty enjoyable book, if you're in the mood for random nuttiness. The story follows Walter Nutria, a high-school freshman who is addicted to cheesy sci-fi movies. Then, he gets picked up by cheesy aliens. They need a general for an upcoming space battle, and since he has watched the most space battles of any earthling, he must be the best for the job, right? If this reasoning sounds weak, there's a reason... the aliens are a bickering, childish, and rather dumb group of individuals. Of course, this also takes place in a very random universe -- the aliens that kidnap Walter look like fat middle-age men wearing footy pajamas, and they make a living in the rich nougat mines of Lirg. Yes, nougat mines. It's that kind of book.

Beatnik Rutabagas won the Golden Duck Awards for Excellence in Children's Science Fiction: Eleanor Cameron Award in 2002. It is worth noting that that award does not focus on comic SF; The Giver, by Lois Lowry, also won this award. I am not certain why BRFBtS won this award, except that it is a reasonably well-written book, and is likely to be enjoyed by children.

Quentin Dodd has written exactly one other book: The Princess of Neptune. I have not yet obtained a copy of this book, but I shall review it when I do.

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