The Milkman by Ian Healy(iUniverse / 0-595-43366-9 / May 2007 / 144 pages / $11.95)
This is a silly little book with a tacky plot and sleazy characters that hang out at a biker bar and a diner that could not pass a health inspection at a roach motel! The black-and-white cover is nothing special: the lead characters and their snow plow are featured, but their gremlin-sized alien pal from the dark side of the moon is missing. The third-person, past-tense viewpoint of this short novel is a bit boring, but the rest of it isn't.
Why can't more new authors display the fresh spunk and talent Ian Healy splatters all over this story of gaseous aliens and anal probes? The story is fraught with unusual characters who either want to save the world or just survive the night. Sometimes the reader, nor the character, is really sure which goal he or she would prefer to attain, and that's what makes this little book so likable. Once you get into the midst of the storyline, you realize that the characters and setting had to be as they are. These characters would feel right at home in a Frank Zappa song: their actions are appropriate to their unconventional lifestyles. Mr. Healy has obviously put a lot of thought and effort into the book. The editing is taut, the proofing errors are at an acceptable level, and most of all, you will root for and remember these lovable-outlaw characters!
To quote Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles, pardon me while I whip this out. I composed my first book, Plastic Ozone Daydream, over a fourteen-year period, utilizing stylistic similes in much the same manner as Ian Healy does so well in The Milkman. He claims The Milkman was written in 28 days, but by looking at the dates printed on the book, you can see that the book was written in 2004, but released in '07. I strongly suspect that Mr. Healy spent a lot of time polishing The Milkman before submitting it for publication. The lead characters speak with each other much in the same manner as those legendary scamps in Star Wars, where most every comment is a double entendre. The Milkman also displays similarity to The A-Team, the movie The Ice Pirates, and Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. The blurb on the back of my first book mentions Vonnegut's inspiration to my writing, and the manner of that inspiration is reflected back to me like a blast from the past when I read The Milkman. The point is that although I am not much of a science fiction reader, I enjoyed The Milkman quite a lot. There is a thread of similarity connecting Cat's Cradle with The Milkman. Stealing a line from another movie, The Tempest, this is what I call show me the magic.
See also: Tabitha's B&N review
Interview with Ian Healy