Today is the release day for Kangaroo Too, the sequel to Curtis C. Chen’s Waypoint Kangaroo. If you’ve never heard of Waypoint Kangaroo, then I envy you because you’re in for a real treat and you don’t have to wait a year for the sequel.
Disclosure: Curtis is a friend of mine, part of my regular Pathfinder Adventure Card Game group, so I get to hang out and play games with him when he’s not off at a writing workshop. This week, he’s off in San Francisco for the book launch, so everyone should buy a copy of the book to make it worth missing Pathfinder for.
I mentioned Waypoint Kangaroo in this Stack Overflow column last fall, but here’s a quick summary: Kangaroo is a secret agent, and his code-name was inspired by his unusual ability, the “pocket.” He’s able to open up a wormhole into another (apparently empty) universe, and stash whatever he wants in it, making him quite useful for transporting all manner of things, even if his other secret agent skills are sometimes a bit lacking. The first book was about his mandatory vacation on a cruise ship to Mars, and it turned out to be much more eventful than planned.
I’ll note for parents that this book is adult fiction—mostly there’s some strong language, but there’s also some violence and occasional innuendo.
In Kangaroo Too, Kangaroo has been sent on a mission. He’s traveling to the moon with Jessica Chu, his doctor, who’s responsible for making sure he doesn’t kill himself with dumb ideas. Although nobody really understands how the pocket works, Jessica knows the physical effects of using it. They’ve been sent to make contact with an old asteroid miner named Clementine, in the hopes of tracking down whoever tried to sabotage Kangaroo’s ship.
But, as it turns out, it’s the anniversary of the first Moon landing, so the place is chock-full of tourists. To top it off, Jessica finds herself in some unexpected trouble. It’s up to Kangaroo—impulsive, undisciplined—and his amazing pocket to figure things out.
The first book kept me up several nights in a row, so I planned ahead this time and started reading in the morning instead. As with the first, it’s a really fun ride, filled with a lot of new revelations. I love the way that Curtis introduces new complications and throws his characters into crazy situations, and then manages to get them out again. Although much of Kangaroo’s history is only hinted at here and there, some figures from his past crop up in the story, so we get a little more of his back story filled in.
It’s a science fiction book through and through, with fancy technology and a vision of our possible future, but there’s also plenty of humor. Kangaroo doesn’t always take things seriously enough; Jessica Chu takes everything way too seriously. Sticking the two of them together is brilliant.
Oh, and as with the first book, there’s a little puzzle included—a bit easier this time—that leads to another surprise that lets you spend just a little more time in Kangaroo’s universe.
So, what are you waiting for? Read an excerpt here, or just go and pick up a copy.
Another disclosure: Curtis gave me an advance reader copy of the book for review, but I host Pathfinder every week, so I think maybe we’re even.