bookrev: Little Green Men by Christopher Buckley

Two authors named Christopher write not only good plot lines with enjoyable Little Green Men by Christopher Buckleycharacters but are also able to make me laugh out loud: Christopher Moore (author of Lamb), and Christopher Buckley, author of Boomsday, Thank You for Smoking and Little Green Men.

In Little Green Men, John O. Banion is a stuffy Washington issues talk show host, taking a firm line with people as powerful as the President, and enjoying the cream and adoration of Washington high society because of his hard hitting style.

Nathan Scrubbs works in the Abductions Department at “Majestic-12”, a government skunk works agency devoted to making the public believe in aliens to continue funding the military and space programs (though it was originally built to make Stalin and the Soviets believe the U.S. had alien technology…queue the Stargate theme).

(pg31) When the thrill of disabled vehicles and freaked-out pets wore off, MJ-12 had no choice but to start providing glimpses of the alien darlings themselves. This was trickier. For one thing, it meant finding dwarfs with security clearances. For this reason, aliens have gotten considerably bigger over the years.

Nathan, during a drinking binge, orders an abduction (complete with probing!) of John O. Banion, rationalizing that if he gets a high profile person talking about aliens then his superiors will be happy. It takes two abductions, but Banion turns his stuffy talk show into a serious quest to find out why the government is hiding information about aliens.

In typical fashion, Buckley walks us through stereotype Washingtonians (Banion’s wife, Bitsey chases every social engagement on the calendar, the Senators and lobbiests are all well played) meeting just as stereotyped “believers” (Dr. Falopian and Colonel Murfletit, the weird scientist and military ‘experts’ on aliens (great names)). The misunderstandings, plus Banion’s fight against what used to be his ‘establishment’ turn Washington inside out, like every Buckley novel. The minor characters (Banion’s British secretary, his love interest Roz, even the President) always threaten to steal the show.

An enjoyable quick read, with an interesting ending (not divulged here!).

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