Ben is not a genius, but he can spout facts about animals and wristwatches with the best of experts. He just can’t explain how he knows any of it.
He also knows about the Chime. What it is or why it’s important he couldn’t say. But this knowledge is about to get him in a whole heap of trouble.
After he and his best friend Patton are abducted by a trash-talking, flesh-construct alien bounty hunter, Ben finds out just how much he is worth… and how dangerous he can be. Hopefully Patton and a stubborn jar of pickles will be enough to help him through. Because being able to describe the mating habits of Brazilian bark lice isn’t going to save them.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Bloom of God | Patton you on the back | Eels Aplenty | Some Aliens Just Suck ]
A Note From the Publisher
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"Many writers try to play it safe with the dreaded second novel. Many writers, but not all, as Chris Panatier took chances and delivered with his second book… Reminiscent of the well-loved Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, Stringers delivers the laughs, with the jokes drawing on the author’s clear love affair with the grotesque, with poignant moments peppered throughout. A highly enjoyable read with moments of real emotional honesty that deserves to reach a wide audience."
– Gabriela Houston, author of The Second Bell
"Stringers is f*cking ridiculous in all the best ways. I haven't laughed this hard at anything EVER. In fact, to have this many laugh-out-loud moments should be illegal - there are nuggets of gold to be found on every page. Throw in a fun plot, characters who are rich and lively and incredibly funny in their own distinct ways, and a unique and engaging format (you'll see), and you've got yourself a joyous and exciting read. None of you are ready for this."
– Dan Hanks, author of Swashbucklers and Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire
"Wholly original. Ridiculously brilliant. Panatier’s Stringers is filled with genuine characters, mind-boggling humor, and the raw and hysterical emotions of beings plucked from obscurity, sold to the highest bidders, and used to serve Universe altering purposes. Panatier’s unconventional storytelling, combined with poetic sentences and a plethora of bug facts you never knew you needed, will keep you entertained until the very end. I can’t recommend enough."
–Noelle Salazar, author of The Flight Girls
"Panatier finds the sweet spot between the social satire of The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief and the pathos of the farting, tap dancing aliens of the planet Margo. A tour de ridicule!"
– R.W.W. Greene, author of Twenty-Five to Life and The Light Years
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 40 members
Fishing store clerk Ben has encyclopedic knowledge of insect biology and antique watches that he can't explain, as well as something called "The Chime". Investigating this accompanied by his stoner friend Patton, the two are abducted by an alien and sought after for this mysterious knowledge.
This book has more complexity than the brief summary suggests, as well as a good deal of humor. It does marry the sarcastic approach of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" with the high concepts more prevalent in hard science fiction. There is also a "Cowboy Bebop"/" Firefly" feel to the book's "wild west" approach to the greater universe and its denizens. All of this made the book a fun read.
I enjoyed the writer's approach to familiar sci-fi concepts as faster-than-light travel and teleportation. Rather than utilizing standard sci-fi tropes, he addresses aspects of them only occasionally explicitly explored and generally tries to find slightly different ways to approach technology and interactions between humans and aliens, mostly successfully.
The main characters are generally entertaining and, while not always fully fleshed out, well-written enough to keep one's interest. That was part of what helped me through what I felt was a slightly slow mid-section. After that point, the story but the accelerator and the last half of the book went by quick, though I found the ending a tad anti-climactic.
Ultimately, despite any flaws, this was a fun read and certainly something for those who prefer their science fiction to have a lighter tone.
Thanks to Angry Robot Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to preview this title.
Literally all that and a jar of pickles.
I'm starting to really like to folks over at Angry Robot, they really know what they're doing. This book was delightfully absurd. It delivers what I hope a really old classic mass market paperback sci-fi would but without the problematic elements of being written in the 1960's. Because the science is there, and the funny off hand comments are there, and the characters are a rag-tag group of moral code jenga that celebrates overcoming mistakes made.
My only criticism is that I would have liked for the group to come together as friends a little sooner. I know near the end there was a found family part, but it would be even better if it was a fully formed connection with all parties involved.
Otherwise, it was a delight, even if I had to read more about bug private parts that I ever wanted to.
This author has a unique and imaginative mind. This is a unique story, well written, and unpredictable. I'll let others summarize it. I'll just recommend it, especially to sci-fi fans.
I really appreciate the free ARC for review!!
Chris Panatier’s riotously wonderful new book “Stringers” takes a complex idea (people who can access the minds of dead people to seek out their obscure and sometimes valuable, often pointless knowledge) and creates a fun and accessible novel. “Stringers” is written very much in the same vein as Douglas Adams or Jasper Fforde, the latter especially in Panatier’s use of footnotes, which an author’s note at the front of the book warns us not to ignore.
Panatier has a relaxed writing style which will appeal to all readers. This is not hard sci-fi, just a ridiculously fun romp with believable characters and a surprising amount of depth amidst the jokes.
Stringers is an action-packed thrill ride following a group of abducted beings who all have valuable knowledge imprinted on their consciousness from the past lives of others. These "stringers" are worth a lot to the right people for the information they can access down their "string". Earthling Ben's string, replete with facts about bug sex and high-end watches, also contains knowledge about The Chime. What is the Chime? We don't know and neither does Ben. But, the mystery surrounding its power and its potential are unveiled along the way.
Excellent read, highly enjoyable.
Panatier has written a fun, humorous, fast paced, space opera romp! Serious and poignant but also equally light and airy, Panatiers writing style is easy to get lost in. like the best of 'fish out of water' sci-fi protagonists (in this case Ben is abducted) the reader learns the ins and out of the galaxy with Ben.
the plot seems straightforward but quickly becomes very complex but not overly so, being doled out at a good pace. all the characters are likeable and quite diverse, and the new worlds, starships, aliens' descriptions are very vivid.
there are several perfect 'needle drop' moments where chris picked out the perfect song to accompany a scene, with the last one being so perfectly described it was like i was watching it play out on screen.
one con are several chapters from Ben's perspective the footnotes get out of control - it makes sense in the story but i felt often the onslaught of footnotes distracted from the narrative flow. later in the book where they are spread out or are more funny than factoids i liked much better.
Thanks to Angry Robot Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to preview this title.
Wow. Where to begin! First of all, thank you for this early copy. This book was so much fun! I have never read a comedic sci-fi book and I had the best time. There was action, comedy and even some mystery. My favorite chracter was Aptat. They were hilarious! It was funny all of the shows and music, etc. they took from earth and implemented into their life. I also thought Patton was a great character. What I loved about this book was the theme of friendship despite the troubles they were faced with. Patton was so loyal even when his circumstances put him on the brink of death. I loved how an unlikely group of friends can come together to save a galaxy. This was a super fun sci-fi that I cannot wait to reccomend!
If you’d like to add some levity to your day, pick up a copy of STRINGERS by Chris Panatier! The writing is strong, the story itself is hilarious yet thought provoking, the characters are well developed and endearing, and the ridiculous footnotes about insect’s sexy parts will have you laughing out loud!
This well-paced, alien abduction based space opera was written in first person POV via Ben, and 3rd person POV via a couple of other characters, including a mysterious instrument maker from another time and place. The instrument maker’s POV had me baffled for most of the book, but after the big reveal, I totally understood why her POV was included and I got a little teary eyed.
If you like laugh out loud space operas, rag-tag crews, and random yet funny facts about insects and watches, then you will love this book! 🛸
I received a free e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Does It All.........
One blurb for this book promises "humor, action, and a memorable cast of characters". Mission accomplished.
The humor runs from fart jokes to subtle wordplay, edgy throwaways, and deadpan humor. The action is space opera-y, but often with tongue in cheek. Except sometimes it's cool, and clever, and high-tech in a convincing science-garble fashion. As to the memorable cast, our two heroes have surprising depth and appeal, and the book is long enough to allow the reader to see them and appreciate them from a number of different angles. Our heroine space-pipefitter is the strong and silent type who brings an appropriate level of hard-boiled competence to the project. The aliens are all over the place, but the Stringer hunter who kidnaps our heroes is a stone cold hoot, and steals every page he's on.
There's a lot going on here, but it's handy and helpful that there's a bit of monologuing by the kidnapper early on that explains Stringers, explains what's happened, and pretty much lays out the roadmap for what's going to happen. That's swell, because there are lots of clever twists and turns and wrinkles to the tale, and the author saves the reader from too much head scratching about what's going on.
So, I got a kick out of this. Space opera humor is very, very hard to pull off, and this book aced the task, and even offered lots of graceful little side bits and digressions that made the whole project very satisfying.
(Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)