Review: The Absconded Ambassador (Genrenauts Episode 2) by Michael R. Underwood

The Absconded Ambassador: Genrenauts Episode 2 - Michael R. Underwood



Space X shuttles are crashing! Technology is going on the fritz! This can only mean a story breach on Sci-Fi World, and a job for...The Genrenauts!


Dr. King and Company are traveling across dimensions to tackle SF story tropes and save an abducted ambassador before she can sign an agreement to form an interstellar alliance aboard the Ahura-3 space station.


As he did with the first installment, The Shootout Solution, Michael R. Underwood has crafted a loving ode to pulp genre fiction set against a slowly developing meta narrative, and peppered it with a few spot-on pop culture references and a whole lot of fun. Fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 should find plenty to enjoy here, the story rife with diplomatic shenanigans, sci-fi action sequences, and lots of loose flowing fun.


One of the things that I'm really growing to appreciate with this still-young series is the character's own recognition of genre tropes and plot conveniences that define the story worlds they visit, and the ways they harness those familiar storytelling devices to further their own ends. There's also a nice bit of subtle commentary on how genres overlap, allowing us, the audience, to accept particular tropes as-is thanks to a particular bit of story telling osmosis. The Action Hero mold can fit nicely alongside other familiar tropes in Sci-Fi World due to similar generic devices demanded by the plot. This allows our Earth Prime heroes to defy all kinds of logic in the various story worlds because we the readers are attuned to expect those absences of logic, and it creates a fun bit of meta fiction.


Fun, of course, is of the utmost importance in these stories, and you can tell Underwood is keeping himself mighty entertaining with these characters and the set pieces they encounter. Sticking to the episodic nature of the series, he furthers the overarching narrative in inches and gives us a few new wrinkles and teases character backstories just in time to --