Dusted Off: Mr. Monk in Outer Space

If I had more energy, I’d go through the archives and see how many of Lee Goldberg’s Monk novels I’ve talked about, but I’m pretty sure my take on all of them is pretty much the same: theyyyyy’re grrreaaat! The latest, just released in paperback (making it cheap enough for Frodo to give it to me for Father’s Day) is no exception.

Essentially, the novel centers on the death of the creator of a Star Trek-like show at a con. Monk has a hard time understading the obsessive nature of the fans and is convinced these adults walking around in costumes are tripping on acid. Hilarity ensues. Goldberg is able to spoof fandom, TV reimaginings, not to mention TV in general. He doesn’t do so meanly, there’s respect, affection, and understanding. Which is a pleasant change–normally fanboys are painted with the broadest brush in these circumstances and played for only cheap laughs, Goldberg resists this impulse (generally), which results in better jokes.

Outer Space‘s mystery holds up a little better than it’s fore-runners, but as with the show, the mystery is secondary to watching Monk navigate through society–particularly one as strange as SciFi fandom. I laughed out loud a lot at this one–but it was more than just a comedic romp. There were some good, more serious, moments that really get ya in the cockles—-as they do in the TV episodes featuring Ambrose (oh, did I forget to mention that Ambrose makes his first appearance in the books? Silly me). They, along with Monk’s final appraisal of fandom, really elevate the book.

Another solid outing for Goldberg–his best yet, actually. Can’t wait for the next installment.

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