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 book 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!
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 — circumstances caused in large part by a witless supporting cast with names such as those listed in the opening paragraph of this review. Buckley’s antihero here is John Oliver Banion, a pompous Sunday-morning public affairs television talk show host with 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 @@@@@ (5 out of 5)
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 — 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.
For further reading
Little Green Men is the fourth of the nine satirical novels Christopher Buckley has published since 1986. I’ve read most of them and reviewed two in this blog. You can see my previous reviews by clicking on these titles: The White House Mess and They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? I also found Boomsday and Supreme Courtship hilarious, though I read them before starting this blog.
You’ll find this and the author’s other satirical books reviewed at Christopher Buckley writes satirical novels that are very, very funny. You might also be interested in My 17 favorite funny novels or Top 7 great popular novels reviewed on this site.
If your taste runs more to genre fiction, check out:
- 20 excellent standalone mysteries and thrillers;
- My 20 favorite espionage novels; or
- Great sci-fi novels reviewed: my top 10.
And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, plus a guide to this whole site, on the Home Page.