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Reviewed by Geoff Habiger for Readers' Favorite
As an interstellar traveler, I am always loath to come to such backwater worlds as Earth but imagine my surprise upon arriving here and seeing that this apparently insignificant part of the universe had an earth translation of one of the most entertaining accounts of one of the most horrible events in the universe. I refer, of course, to The Incident on Durangoni Space Station. Now, having read the original account of Roy by Puki Horpocket (a literary master without parallel in the universe), I was curious to see whether this Earth-based translator had managed to keep to the purity and essence of Puki’s original, or had managed to muck it up like most Earthlings tend to do. I was not disappointed. Mr. Zachry Wheeler has managed to capture not only the overall story of Roy and The Incident, but he also has picked up on the little nuances that make a Puki Horpocket masterpiece. Let me step back a moment and give a little background. The Incident took place on Durangoni Space Station and very little is known about the events leading up to it, but it created one of the most chaotic and traumatic periods on Durangoni. No small feat when you consider that Durangoni is the universe’s largest space station, home to over a trillion people. What is even more interesting is that the one person who seemed to be at the center of The Incident, a humble plumber by the name of Roy, was going through a major midlife crisis. That Roy today is hailed as a folk hero on Durangoni is a testament to his own status and appeal.
Mr. Wheeler (translating Puki’s work) has managed to capture Roy’s essence. Through a series of interviews with Roy’s friends, co-workers and acquaintances, and by compiling together the many small strands of evidence and the few remaining eyewitness accounts, we better understand both Roy and The Incident. This is a compelling story that reveals itself over time, like the fine layers of a zabarti (I believe you Earthlings have something similar called a parfait). We see who Roy is, from a meek sub-core citizen dejected with his place in the universe to an exalted folk hero (despite all the problems he caused). We meet his friends and see how Roy’s attempt to change his lot in life goes spectacularly awry. Roy is a wonderful bit of storytelling and character development rolled into one with the threads of Roy's story and The Incident neatly coalescing at the end. We not only understand how the events happened, but also come away with a better understanding of Roy the person and not the myth. Now I will unabashedly admit that I am biased in my praise, having had the pleasure of actually meeting Puki Horpocket himself and getting a signed copy of the first edition of his book. But Puki’s story has found a most satisfying champion in Zachry Wheeler who manages to do justice to this most interesting tale. I greatly urge any of you Earthlings who love a ripping yarn about a down-on-his-luck plumber who goes through the most epic and chaotic midlife crisis in the history of the universe to pick up a copy of Roy. You will not be disappointed.