Johnny's Reviews > Little Green Men

Little Green Men by Christopher Buckley
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's review
Sep 15, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: light-novels
Recommended for: Pierce Watters
Read in September, 2008

WFB was very proud of his son, as well he should have been. Christopher Buckley continues the legacy of Buckley wit and increases my risibility index with every reading. Little Green Men is no exception. Buckley takes conspiracy theories and UFOlogists to task in a book filled with so much black comedy that, as with Thank You For Smoking, you feel like you've been dumped into the middle of a preposterously conceived noir novel.

But Buckley does write comedy. The plot follows that little U we're taught to recognize, but Buckley just keeps fooling us about where the "bottom" is (sort of like today's stock market situation). This book also has the distinction of having the funniest footnotes I've read since A Princess Bride. Here's one that defines the CIA:

*U.S. intelligence agency formerly tasked with overthrows of insignificant Central American countries, inept invasions of Caribbean dictatorships, and disastrous meddlings in Southeast Asia. Its main focus, in the post-Cold-War era, has been to employ people who will sell vital classified information about it to foreign governments. Its current budget is estimated at $27 billion per year, which may seem like a lot but is still not enough to enable it to find out if countries like India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons. (p. 33n)

Like his pere, Buckley is apt to wander into the bon mot of a foreign language from time-to-time. Yet, though it never seemed pretentious in the elder Buckley, Buckley the Younger often uses a foreign word or phrase to suggest the faux-erudition of Washington power-brokers. As with Buckley the Elder, I've been able to pick up a new vocabulary word or two each time I open one of their books. In Little Green Men, I was exposed to the French word bouleverse' for the first time. I doubt that I will be able to use this word for being turned upside-down, being overthrown, or distressed in a sermon, but I'm sure I'll find a use for it someday.

SPOILER ALERT: What if the UFOlogists were partially right and our government was deliberately misleading us with regard to alien abductions and flying saucers? What if there was a semi-legitimate national security reason to do so? What if there was a reason that no credible sources seem ever to be abducted? And what would happen if a seeming credible sources was abducted? That is the thesis of this very funny novel where credible source and alien maverick within the top-secret agency both went off the deep end. Hilarity (or at least a high level of bemusement) ensues.

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