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Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite
Greegs and Ladders by Zack Mitchell and Danny Mendlow is --as far as I could tell -- a very convoluted, satirical critique of the way humanity is treating its planet, its universe, its fellow humans, its non-human fellow inhabitants of Earth, its environment and, ultimately, its fate. A very serious message is buried deep within a fantastical, science fictional, cartoonish lampoon involving such creatures as have never seen the light of day, and hopefully never will. Much of the action takes place on one of 11 planets but much also takes place in various other universes and at various times spanning many millennia. The primary protagonists are the decidedly non-human Dr. Rip T. Brash III; his faithful sidekick and Astrospeciologist “Wilx”; and Krimshaw, the Greeg formerly known as Zook. These three immortal beings basically spend the entire book travelling through time –- forward, backward, diagonally and sideways –- so Rip can make absurd wagers with Wilx, in a fruitless effort to win back everything Wilx has already won from his previous wagers.
As you no doubt already have concluded, Mitchell and Mendlow are a couple of very imaginative fellows. There are more made-up words, names, species etc. than any ten normal people could come up with if they had a lifetime to do it in. I was well beyond the halfway mark before I decided this book was, in fact, a critique of the status quo. Even then, it wasn’t until the very final page that I was absolutely certain of this. They are to be highly commended for managing to keep their readers engaged for such a long time before allowing the reader to “get it”.
Without a serious message, this is a very entertaining, if absurd, story, which engages the reader completely. However, with the realization that there IS a serious message under all the humor and absurdity, the story becomes not only entertaining, but also significant. I seriously do endorse this book, and recommend that it be read by all politicians, for starters. Everybody else can read it, too, with the possible exception of Investment Bankers.