Cover image of "Little Green Men," a novel about where UFOs come from

Perhaps it requires a rarefied sense of humor to appreciate Christopher Buckley, but you wouldn’t know it from the sales figures on his books. Anyone who can write a novel with endlessly eccentric characters named Sir Reginald Pigg-Vigorish, Col. Roscoe J. Murfletit, General Tunklebunker, and Deputy FBI Director Bargenberfer may be reaching the pre-adolescent in me, but he makes me laugh, dammit, and I’m not going to apologize for it, so there! Which, of course, is why I rushed to read his charming little novel about where UFOs come from.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Solving the mystery of where UFOs come from

In Little Green Men, not only does Buckley make me chuckle and wheeze with immoderate glee, but he also solves the mystery of the UFOs! Could anyone possibly wish for more?

Like so many of Buckley’s satirical novels, Little Green Men tells the story of a hapless (though in this case willing) victim of the absurd circumstances surrounding him. They’re mostly by a witless supporting cast with names such as those listed in the opening paragraph. Buckley’s antihero here is John Oliver Banion, a pompous Sunday-morning public affairs television talk show host. Not so incidentally, he possesses a pedigree that looks just a little bit like Christopher Buckley’s (including Yale, of course). In fact, Buckley is never better than when skewering People Like Us, and he does it with such skill that I can almost imagine him cackling in the background as he types away.

Little Green Men by Christopher Buckley (1999) 324 pages ★★★★★

Museum representation of the "silver Tall Nordic" aliens that appear in this novel about where UFOs come from.
Mannikins of the “silver Tall Nordic” aliens as envisioned by the curators of the UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico. Image: Jirka Matousek – Routes North

Well, they’re not actually Little Green Men. They’re silver.

One fine day John O. Banion is slicing into the rough on his exclusive country club golf course when he is abducted and “probed” by aliens. These are not Little Green Men, actually, but silver ones whom UFO taxonomists call Tall Nordics. The action that radiates from this inexplicable event is far too complicated, and far too unlikely—not to mention funny—to sum up. So I’ll leave it to you when you read this beautifully crafted little book.

About the author

Photo of Christopher Buckley, author of this novel that reveal where UFOs come from
Christopher Buckley. Image: Penguin Random House

Christopher Buckley is the author of twelve satirical novels and eight other books, including two travelogues and a memoir of his parents. He writes on his website that he “is a novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor and memoirist. His books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages. He worked as a merchant seaman and White House speechwriter.” Buckley has also written for newspapers and magazines and has lectured in over 70 cities around the world. He received the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence.

Buckley was born in New York City in 1952, the son of William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008), a founder of the conservative movement in America. (He was, famously, editor-in-chief of the National Review and host of the weekly television show, Firing Line.) In 2008, the son defied his father to vote for Barack Obama instead of Republican George W. Bush—and went public with the news. He is not a fan of Donald J. Trump, either. Buckley is married and has two children and four step-children.

Little Green Men is the fourth of the twelve satirical novels Christopher Buckley has published since 1986. I’ve read most of them and reviewed several in this blog. You can see my previous reviews at Christopher Buckley writes satirical novels that are very, very funny. Or by clicking on these titles: The White House Mess and They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? 

For two other great comic novels about UFOs, see The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis (An award-winner’s comic alien abduction story) and Alien Space Tentacle Porn (First Contact #8) by Peter Cawdron (A funny story about alien abductions.)

You might also be interested in My 10 favorite funny novels.

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, on the Home Page.