The Absconded Ambassador by Mike Underwood

Twitter Summary: GalaxyQuest, Redshirts, and now this!

After reading the first book in the Genrenauts series, reviewed here, I thought that being a Genrenaut would be a pretty sweet gig. Mike seems to want to disabuse readers of that notion. The book opens with the line “Genrenaut was like being a member of a theater troupe run by a burnt-out hippie who melded Devising with MBA management: the ideas were outlandish and random, but the execution was 100% corporate.” and that really made me pause for a bit.  Don’t get me wrong, being a Genrenaut still seems like it’d be awesome, but now we find out that it’s not all running shoot outs and narrow escapes.

Sometimes there’s PowerPoint.

Mike actually taps into one of my favorite sub-genres, what I call Bureaucracy Porn. Books like The Goblin EmperorArticles of the Federation (Star Trek), and  The Outback Stars peel back the layers and ask questions like “How does the King actually run a kingdom in an Epic Fantasy?” and “What does a junior officer actually do in a Space Opera?”

Mike’s POV character Leah Tang is brand new to the organization. As with most of us starting off, she doesn’t know what the heck she’s doing, relying on her ability to read situations and off her penchant for sarcasm. That’s a character I can relate to.

As with the previous installment, Mike uses his love of genre to spin a story that would feel right at home in a modern day episode of Star Trek,  ramping up quickly, doing it’s thing, and then resolving. And just like later season DS9, we get a set of plot threads that we have to tune in next week to see the progression of.

While the plot alone would be a little threadbare, it’s experiencing it through the eyes of genre-savvy characters that really make this series special.

Final Verdict: Thoroughly Enjoyed and I’m definitely in for the next one in Rom Com Land!

Bonus Author Question:

BF: We’ve talked before about your love of Hamilton. Any chance the Genrenauts end up in Broadway Musical land?

Mike Underwood: I want to make this happen really hard, but I’d need to figure out how to convey the feeling of the music and the dancing. If I manage to get a Genrenauts TV show made, that kind of episode would be very high on my priorities.

Other Recommendations:

More unorthodox takes on Genre Tropes:Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination edit by John Joseph Adams


The Absconded Ambassador by Mike Underwood

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