Fans of Jane Palmers The Planet Dweller will be happy to hear that the sequel to Moving Moosevan (The Womens Press £4.95) takes the same sardonic view of human nature and science fiction clichés as the first book. This is the sort of book for which the term wacky might have been invented; it wont be everyones cup of tea, but it has an endearing, oddball charm, much more to my taste than another recent SF comedy sequel: Better Than Life by Grant Naylor.
Anyone who has not read Jane Palmers first book THE PLANET DWELLER is likely to find the plot of its sequel, MOVING MOOSEVAN, somewhat confusing, but this hardly matters as most of the characters in this light-hearted comic novel are in a permanent state of confusion.
Our heroine Diana, having survived the menopause and saved the Earth in the previous novel, now has to deal with Kulp, a particularly obnoxious alien, and an army of androids intent on planetary conquest. Meanwhile, Moosevan, the Planet Dweller, an intelligent and amorous entity currently living inside planet Earth, embarks upon a programme of home improvements - such as moving the British Isles to warmer climes. Fortunately for Diana help is at hand in the various forms assumed by two intergalactic super-intelligences.
This is not a novel that demands to be taken at all seriously although it does provide a pleasant enough light read. Jane Palmer has created some amiable quirky characters that the reader simply cannot dislike, and their incongruous adventures do succeed in raising a smile. What the book lacks is the comic bite that provokes a roar of laughter, and the inclusion of several minor characters from the previous novel in walk-on parts only serves to further confuse the proceedings. The reader of MOVING MOOSEVAN could do a lot worse, but could also do a lot better.
Moving Moosevan, on the other hand, is a lighthearted sequel to The Planet Dweller. It climbs aboard the green bandwagon with its anti-pollution wish-fulfilment- It is a very fast and rather gimmicky sf, full of throwaway comments on Thatchers Britain. The plot contains aliens, androids, terraforming, planets changing orbit - everything but the kitchen sink really. There are some nice concepts, such as when the planet dweller decides to move the UK and Ireland a few degrees further south, but I found it rather hard to care about the characters as they go through their hectic paces.
Barbara Davies Vector