I am a big fan of space. I am particularly fond of things set in space, especially if they take place on spaceships. Spaceships are cool and they need to show up more often. I love all kinds of spaceships. The kind with wild designs like in Treasure Planet and spaceships that are essential members of the cast. The USS Enterprise, the TARDIS, and the Millennium Falcon are all great examples of this. Last year I discovered that there’s something I like even more than spaceships as characters though. I discovered spy thrillers, set in space.
Normally, I talk about movies and comics, but today I’m going to talk about a book called Waypoint Kangaroo by Curtis Chen. This book is wild and I will forever be grateful to my book club friend who recommended it.
So, Waypoint Kangaroo is a story about a spy codenamed Kangaroo. He’s called Kangaroo because he can access an interdimensional “pouch” where he can store equipment or smuggle spy stuff. This is a very comic book style superpower and I love it, but that’s not the important part of this story. The important part of this story is that it’s set in a future where space travel is a leisure activity. You can sign up for a pleasure cruise to anywhere in the solar system.
Our boy Kangaroo finds himself on a forced vacation. His bosses put him on a cruise ship to mars. This doesn’t go very well at first. Kangaroo has a very hard time taking a break. He sees trouble everywhere and for a while thinks he’s just being paranoid. In the end, it turns out he wasn’t paranoid and he had to stop some hijackers from taking over the ship and starting a war.
The story itself is pretty typical of the spy genre, aside from the fact that it’s set in space. The science-fiction elements aren’t all that special either, but I do appreciate the combination of them. It’s a lot of fun and feels more like a comic book than a typical sci-fi novel. Waypoint Kangaroo isn’t trying to be intentionally deep or thought-provoking. It’s just a good time on a space ship.
It’s a really good time on a space ship and amazingly diverse. I feel like it’s weird that that’s a thing I have to say, but sci-fi is not as well rounded a genre as it should be. It’s all speculative, often about distant futures with wild technology, and more often than not the writers can’t even imagine women with jobs. So, the variety of characters in Waypoint Kangaroo is refreshing. I’ve never wanted a book to get a film adaptation more than this one.