The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent
By Larry Correia
Narrated by Adam Baldwin
Ⓟ 2016, Audible Studios
2 hours, 4 minutes
SCIENCE FICTION | SPACE | COMEDY
Tom Stranger is a top-rated insurance agent who offers policies across alternate dimensions*, and in this fast-paced and furiously funny novella, travels to alternate Earths to settle claims. Alternate worlds with their one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eaters and other assorted transgressors cross rifts, inflict damage, and create chaos on each other; so it is good to know that a man dedicated to customer satisfaction is on the job!
Larry Correia, renowned as the author of the Monster Hunter series and Grimnoir Chronicles, is also infamous as the founder of the Sad Puppies campaign which sought to influence the Hugo nominations toward his and Brad R. Torgerson’s works – which Correia felt were not fairly recognized in favor of more progressive or politically correct titles. This is worth mentioning here only because Corriea makes it clear he views liberal polices and persons as inferior and weak, making stabs at both in this short piece: Joe Biden is portrayed as a drunken clown; Obama is dissed for golfing; ACA “makes no sense;” and Tom Stranger’s intern, an inept young man is skewered for having a Gender Studies degree, for having been an Occupier, and having Twitter skills… The humor is biting, sharp and refreshing; but there is a pettiness and meanness to it too which detracts from the whole.
Listeners cannot afford to be distracted for even a beat lest they miss a great comic line delivered by Adam Baldwin (the American actor & narrator, not the POTUS – which is is on some alternate Earth.) Baldwin does a great job in setting a blistering pace and keeping the energy levels up throughout the piece. The Adventures of Tom Stranger is packed with references to US pop culture icons and ideas: Chuck Norris is, well Chuck Norris, but this time an arbitrator; R. Lee Emery is a Secretary of Defense; and Larry Correia himself is a head of a high-tech conglomerate when he’s not an author suffering the fate of comic-cons… Baldwin’s character voices are distinct; and his celebrity impersonations of R. Lee Emery and Barrack Obama in particular are strong. Baldwin is also to be commended for vocalizing a manatee as a character (Though oddly, it sounds like a whale calls and not a manatee, but whatever.)
The Adventures of Tom Stranger is like a blast of cold winter air on your face: refreshing, but at the same time a little biting. Fans of Correia will not be disappointed.
- The alternate dimensions concept is predicated on Stephen Hawking’s “Many-Worlds” interpretation wherein “all possible alternate histories and futures are real,” each alternate world born of the moment any decision is made in any of the realities, thereby creating millions of possible other worlds.
Wikipedia, Many-Worlds interpretation, Accessed March 8, 2017
OTHER: I listened to a digital download copy of The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent (by Larry Correia; narrated by Adam Baldwin) which was available free during the month of May, 2016 from Audible.com. I receive no monies, goods, or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.
The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent (by Larry Correia; narrated by Adam Baldwin) is a finalist in the 2017 APA Audie Awards in the Original Work category.