There’s a charming quality to Von Allan‘s The Planet with No Beer. It’s about Bill, a clueless and somewhat inefficient wizard for hire, and his canine wizard partner Butch as they discover that their planet has run out of beer. Seeing as this is the most tragic, awful thing that’s happening in their surrounding, they decide to take it upon themselves to fix this situation and go on a “selfless” quest to bring back back beer to their planet via mystical means. It’s a silly premise, but Allan is able to bring his cast of ludicrous, well-meaning idiots into it with such aplomb that it becomes endearing. It’s a light read, probably 3.4%.
Underdog stories resonate with people. There’s something endlessly fascinating with seeing stories about someone who’s at a disadvantage who manages to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s a recipe for success. What Von Allan does is use this framework for comedy by having his aggressively incompetent characters taking on more than they can chew. It reminded me of a sci-fi fantasy version of the cult classic 2004 comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
I’ve recommended Allan’s stories in the past, mostly his excellent ongoing series Wolf’s Head. This is some of his earlier work, originally published as part of his series Wizards for Hire – Cheap. It’s fun and light and was a perfect read on a warm summer evening.
You can read The Planet with non Beer over on Von Allan’s website. You can also read other stories with the characters of Bill and Butch or get a print copy of Wizards for Hire – Cheap. You can follow him on Twitter as well.