Author: Russ Colchamiro
Publisher: Crazy 8 Press
Genre: Humor, Space Opera
Series: Finder's Keepers Book One
So I figured it was time to start working on his Finders Keepers trilogy, the first book in the series being his debut as an author. With Finders Keepers, what I found was a story with a lot more humor, but it was one that I was less emotionally engaged with.
In Eternity, where galaxies in the universe are designed and created by Eternitarians, a disaster strikes the soon to debut Milky Way. A jar of cosmic galactic DNA, material that has the power to both create and destroy galaxies, is knocked into 21st century Earth during some passionate love making by the Eternitarians Donald and Danielle. Milky Way galaxy designer Emma and her partner Lex forsake their special powers in order to become humans and retrieve the bottle before both of their careers are ruined.
On Earth, New Zealander Theo Barnes finds the mysterious jar of cosmic DNA, which causes him and other humans who come into close contact with it to endure vivid hallucinations, many of which feature a talking blue whale. Shortly after he goes on his planned backpacking trip of Europe, he meets his new best friend, American Jason Medley. As the two blaze a trail through Europe, they are pursued by Emma, and a human she employs in her service named Lilly.
Finders Keepers is loaded with the sex and drug humor found in a lot of R-rated comedies. The crudity of which bares a striking resemblance to the films American Pie and EuroTrip, and it especially bares a lot of similarities to the latter which is also about backpacking through Europe. Literary wise I’m reminded of Terry Pratchett and Tom Robins … Pratchett with his frequent shifts in plot, and Robins by the overall zaniness of everything that’s going on. This is definitely a contrast to Crossline which had a cynicism to its humor that reminded me more of Vonnegut.
This was initially a difficult book to get into. After reading the prologue, which was hilarious, the story really tempers down, and for awhile I was worried. The book does eventually come through, but it’s a unique blend of patience and realizing that this was going to be a different read than I expected that got me through. When it comes to crude humor, I – and I’m sure a lot of other people – mentally prepare themselves by lowering their IQ a good 20 points or so. Point being once the crudity starts it feels like it’s time to slowly turn the brain off. In Finders Keepers you can’t do that, so while I was initially trying to turn my brain off, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to do that with this story.
Colchamiro frequently shifts from our world, to outside the world, to a hallucination world, and and this doesn’t include the frequent narrator shifts … and there are a lot of those for a story that’s under 400 pages. It’s a surprisingly difficult story, and in order to get anything out of this, you must pay attention and think.
The two main characters, Theo and Jason, are the most flushed out development wise. I wasn’t a fan at first, but they really started to grow on me. Lilly, Lex, and Emma are the minor characters that were also developed well but could have used some more page time. The other minor characters can be a bit one-dimensional ie Donald’s a tool, and Danielle is always angry. Besides the characters, the plot throws in a few nice twists here and there, and the ending while mostly conclusive, leaves a few open doors for a sequel.
Wishing to extend the lack of responsibility found in adulthood via a rambunctious trip through Europe is an idea that should resonate well with a lot of younger people. Friendships, counter-culture references, sex, and drug-use are topics that are openly talked about with a casualness that never makes these subjects seem taboo. The exploration of this lifestyle, which is experienced by many – however brief – rarely seems to be written or talked about in published fiction. It’s refreshing to see these topics approached in a non-derogatory manner. Overall Finders Keepers is a promising debut, it’s certainly worth looking into.