Review: Gate Crashers

Tomlinson has mastered science fiction humor with Gate Crashers, pairing witty one-liners with a strong story to create a wild ride you’ll want a ticket for. If you’re looking for a delightful, hilarious romp through space, complete with alien races and a robust cast of characters, this is the book for you. It definitely made me chuckle, watching our brightest (and not-so-brightest) try to secure our place in a universe filled with all manner of advanced societies.

Why I Loved It

A True Space Comedy

In true space comedy fashion, every character is hilarious in their own way. It’s not always realistic, but it doesn’t need to be. One-liners constantly zip around, adding a laugh track to the gravest situation. I imagine the book to be a mix between Star Trek and a sitcom, a balance Tomlinson handles deftly. The humor never wavers, remaining enjoyable until the very end.

The Universe

The world-building is seamlessly integrated into the plot. Switching between multiple race perspectives gives the story an interesting edge, with the introduction of an emotionless race, reminiscent of your run-of-the-mill grey space aliens, and a warring tribe of horror beasts that I imagine to be similar to Klingons left in a nightmare machine for too many cycles. Throw in a host of worlds with inventive flora and fauna (including enormous space lily pads capable of destroying planets) and a universal city center housing thousands of unique races, and you’ve got a robust landscape for a wild ride through space.

Space Anthropology

At the heart of the mission is the desire to learn more about the universe. Tomlinson plays this out through anthropological treks into each world the humans attempt to contact. These Star Trek-level expeditions are filled with mishaps and strange new landscapes, adding a sense of adventure and awe as you follow excited scientists racing to learn as much as they can about the universe they thought they understood.

Humans as Animals

This is a mild spoiler, and brought the biggest laugh. The idea of a fence surrounding the human solar system that designates us as a “wildlife preserve” is wildly funny, especially when you see the responses from governments convinced they are the shit. It hilariously sets the tone for the rest of the book as humans blunder into situations they’re unprepared for, trying to prove they are more than the silly race the universe believes them to be. 

Quick Summary

A ship deep in the outer reaches of known space comes across an alien vessel. Alongside a team on Earth, the crew unravels the mysterious technology. Meanwhile, the universe is watching as our formerly discounted species becomes a threat to those unwilling to share the galaxy. 

Gate Crashers

By Patrick S. Tomlinson
Tor Books

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Author: Jacob Olson

Writing about science fiction and fantasy at! I write reviews on novels, short stories, television, movies, etc. and throw in a few articles and thoughts as well.

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