Book Review: Camp Alien by Gini Koch

December 6, 2017 Book Reviews 6

Book Review: Camp Alien by Gini Koch

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Camp Alien by Gini Koch
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Humorous, Science Fiction
Published by DAW Books on May 3, 2016
Pages: 599
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Alien Collective, Universal Alien, Alien in Chief, Alien Nation, Alien Education

Thirteenth in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt hilarious science fiction urban fantasy series and revolving around Kitty Katt-Martini and her friends and family.

While you can read this as a standalone, it does rely more on your having read the past installments, as Koch leaves out details about some of the characters. And lord knows she sure does reference past events a lot.

My Take

Oh lord, it’s a superhero comic in text form with the biggest group of family-friends…most of whom are not fully human. In this installment, Camp Alien is mostly a clean-up of the aftermath of Alien in Chief, 12, in which Jeff becomes president. And Jeff and Kitty have a ton of offices to fill.

Then there’s Gustav Drax. Yep, I can see how Kitty figures him out. He’s pretty clueless about earth culture, lol. Actually, stupid wouldn’t be a bad word to use.

”’I think anyone who drops invisible commandos onto the President’s train as a sales pitch is an idiot,’ Kendrick said dryly.”

When I say it’s busy, I ain’t kidding.

There are snafus, screw-ups that could easily lead to divorce!, kidnappings, battles, a hidden black site, rescues, and escapes galore as the characters try to bring order to: Jeff succeeding to the presidency, security trying to corral Kitty and her impetuous actions, dealing with the multiple groups of bad guys with their particular agendas — including frightening the guys to death!, the clones and androids who are messing with everyone, finding the missing agents, and stopping the ultimate plot.

The first three-quarters of the story is all about love and caring for others…check out that Kitty trying to talk Kendroid into overcoming his programming!…with a side theme of creating for the sake of creating. Well, okay, add in a side of megalomania as well.

Then the last quarter is actually the lead-up to Alien Nation, 14. It’s totally crazy with some way-out battles against rapidly reproducing monsters, androids, and Fem-bots, hot to kill and rile up the Middle East. The end result is quite useful, lol.

Hmmm, delicate freakin flower? I think Koch is reading Eve Langlais, *more laughter*.

And it’s all first-person protagonist point-of-view from Kitty’s perspective — all the better to get a peek into how that girl thinks! ROFLMAO!!

The Story

The President and First Lady, a.k.a., Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, don’t get any downtime, for they have myriad high-level government positions to fill, but the scrutiny and pressure on this Administration has gone into overdrive.

New robots and androids attacking, old enemies making new alliances, and new aliens with interesting abilities almost overshadow the fact that the U.S. still has to host a peace summit at Camp David between Israel and Iraq. It’s clear that while the Mastermind may be down, there are plenty of others ready to take his place — and all that stands between them and success are Kitty and Company.

But when the President and his entourage finally get to the peace talks, a hidden in-control superbeing, an android replacement, and an army of Fem-Bots turn the peace talks into a Battle Royale that the team might not actually survive. And if they don’t make it, Earth won’t make it, either.

But no pressure.

The Characters

Yes, it’s a long, long list that Koch keeps adding to in every story! Sometimes it’s the only way I can keep track of who’s who and what they’re up to…or what their superpower is.

The super-charged Katherine “Kitty” Katt-Martini is now the First Lady and married to now-President Jeff Martini, an Alpha-Centauri (A-C) alien who is the strongest empath in the galaxy and, ahem, born in America.

As EVERYone notes, it’s her “brand of outside-the-box thinking and ability to just go with the crazy” that keeps saving the world’s bacon.

“Because Murphy and his Law are pretty much my copilots.”

Their god names (after their adventures in Alien Separation, 11) are Shealla and Leoalla, respectively. Kitty also has a Doctor Doolittle-type talent that their daughter, Jamie Katt — with her own superpowers, may have inherited. Jamie is also the vessel for ACE. Charlie is their seven-month-old son with some impressive telekinetic powers.

Angela Katt is Kitty’s mother and the head of the Presidential Terrorism Control Unit (PTCU). Malcolm Buchanan, a.k.a., Dr. Strange, was assigned to protect Kitty and Jamie and is put in charge of all White House security. Killer is Buchanan’s Poof. Kevin Lewis is Angela’s second-in-command. Dingo and Surly Vic, assassins, are no more (Alien in Chief, 12). General Mortimer Katt, Kitty’s uncle, gets a promotion to four-star general. Sheila is another best friend from school who’s been “adopted” by the Katts.

The critters include…
Poofs are cute little fuzzy critters from the Black Hole Universe who go large-and-in-charge to protect the person to whom they become attached. Peregrines are Alpha Four animals who look like peacocks and peahens and are excellent in stealth mode due to their chameleon abilities; they make excellent bodyguards. Bruno is Kitty’s peregrine. Poofikins is her Poof while Harlie, the head Poof, and Murphy are both attached to Jeff. Razzle, Dazzle, Foo, and Fighter are the flyboys’ Poofs. Mork and Mindy are Charlie’s peregrines.

Ocellars, a.k.a., foxcats, and chochos, a.k.a., pig-dogs, which are the size of an X-L German shepherd, are from Beta Eight. Wilbur is Kitty’s chocho, and he adores Charlie. Dudley is the Katts’ Great Dane. Duchess is the pit bull. Dottie is a Dalmatian, and Duke is the Labrador. Sugarfoot is one of the cats.

Alpha-Centaurions (A-C) on earth

Richard White is Christopher’s dad and the former Supreme Pontifex of the Earth A-Cs. He will become the public relations minister, taking over from Rajnish. Naomi Gower-Reynolds had been married to Chuckie, but sacrificed herself and became a superconsciousness. Alfred and Lucinda are Jeff’s parents and became Christopher’s second set when his mother died.

Centaurion Division encompasses…
…various departments for the A-Cs including Airborne Command, Alpha Team, Field, and the A-C CIA. The Dulce Science Center is the main base for all of Centaurion Division worldwide. Paul Gower is the Supreme Pontifex, the religious leader of the A-Cs. William Ward, Walter’s brother, is head of all A-C security on earth.

Airborne Command is a squad of Navy Top Guns assigned to A-C defense headed up by Tim Crawford, a.k.a., Megalomaniac Lad. The other flyboys include Jerry Tucker, Matt Hughes, Chip Walker, Joe Billings, and Randy Muir. Former model James Reader is the head of Field and Alpha Team — and Kitty’s other best guy friend; he is married to Paul Gower. A-C Captains Lorraine and Claudia are married to Joe and Randy, respectively. Ross is Lorraine and Joe’s son; Sean is Claudia and Randy’s. Jeremy Barone (empath) and Jennifer Barone-Gaekwad (imageer) are a brother-sister team. Serene Dwyer is head of Imageering and the covert A-C CIA and a closet troubadour as well as a strong imageer (right after Christopher). She’s married to Brian Dwyer, a human astronaut, and they have a son, Patrick. Rajnish Singh, a troubadour, is Serene’s second-in-command in the secret A-C CIA and will become chief of staff at the White House. Camilla is a deep cover agent. Tevvik is good at determining organic from machine. Missing agents include Daniel and Marcus (empaths) and Joshua and Lucas (both imageers).

Alpha Centauri Embassy
Doreen Coleman-Weisman is the ambassador. Walter Ward is head of Security at the Embassy and will move over to the White House. His job will be taken by Melissa “Missy” Gunnels. Christopher White, Glaring Champion of the World and married to Amy Gaultier, is Jeff’s cousin. They just had a baby, Becky. He’ll stay on as the chargé d’affaires and Primary, and be the main point-of-contact with the Planetary Council. Abigail Gower and Mahin Sherazi, an Earth Bender hybrid A-C/human, are the cultural attachées. Nurse Magdalena Carter has medical training and is dating Richard. Denise Lewis, a human, is as gorgeous as her husband, Kevin, and runs the Embassy School and Daycare Center. Raymond and Rachel are their equally gorgeous kids. Pierre is the incredibly efficient concierge majordomo.

Hacker International is…
…based inside the embassy and consists of the top five six hackers in the world. Stryker Dane, a.k.a., Eddy Simms, is their unofficial head, a fiction writer, and one of Chuckie’s closest confidants. The True Number One Hacker in the World is Chernobog the Ultimate, a.k.a., Bogdana. The Chinese Dr. Henry Wu is the best in software. Ravi Gaekwad, the best reverse engineer, married Jennifer. Yuri Stanislav is a blind Russian who works out and isn’t the Number One Hacker anymore. Big George Lacroix is French with a gorgeous voice.

The White House
Antoinette Reilly is the chief usher and the head of the household staff. Chef is refusing to make Alpha Four’s boiled tapeworms. Dr. Tito Hernandez, a mixed martial arts fighter, will be the in-house doctor. Evalyne is the head of Kitty’s Secret Service detail with Phoebe as her second-in-command. Len Parker and Kyle Constantine have been Kitty’s personal security squad since Alien in the Family, 3; Manfred, a troubadour, is the head of her A-C security. Joseph is the head of Jeff’s Secret Service detail. Rob and Cody Boyd are also Secret Service. Nadine, a troubadour, will be nanny to the kids; she had been Serene’s double. Colette becomes press secretary. Nancy Maurer will be Kitty’s social secretary; Cameron is Nancy’s son. Her grandchildren are Chase and Cassidy. Melanie and Emily are Lorraine and Claudia’s A-C mothers and part of the White House medical staff. Missing Secret Service agents include Keith and Devon Jones.

Elaine Armstrong, the widow of the president, is definitely included in the planning and becomes the secretary of state. Evan had been her and President Armstrong’s limo driver. Senator Don McMillan is the senior senator from Arizona, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, a good friend, and an honest politician. His wife, Kelly, is a sorority sister of Kitty’s. Nathalie Gagnon-Brewer is a good friend who took on her murdered husband’s seat as the representative from California and will become secretary of transportation; she’ll ferret out all the people who hate A-Cs. Benjamin Vrabel Siler, the son of Madeleine Cartwright, will become defense attaché. Uncle Hubert Siler rescued and trained Benjamin. Lizzie, a.k.a., Quick Girl to Kitty and Comet to the Secret Service, is Benjamin’s adopted daughter who needs protection. She’ll become the Youth Ambassador. Fritz Hochberg is secretary of defense and will become the vice-president. Vance will become Kitty’s chief of staff.

The Cause (implemented by Kyle at USC) will carry through as Kitty’s First Lady project. Governor Gideon Cleary of Florida, a former Club 51-er, will receive an official position with it. Akiko Designs will work only for the A-Cs and the White House. Abner Schnekedy, Lillian’s husband, is an artist and will be the decorator and chief floral designer.

Camp David is…
…a more casual presidential retreat, formally known as Naval Support Facility Thurmont. Prime Minister Eitan Harpaz is representing the Israelis. Faiz Samara is the Iraqi president. The Samarapus is a superbeing and has more tentacles than an octopus — all poisonous.

The alphabet agencies and military include…
…the brilliant Charles Reynolds, a.k.a., Secret Agent Man, as the head of the Extra-Terrestrial Division at CIA and has been Kitty’s best friend since ninth grade. He’ll become the head of CIA. Tom Curran is the director of the FBI while Evander “Vander” Horn is director of Alien Affairs.

Colonel Marvin Hamlin will become the Secretary of Homeland Security and be promoted to brigadier general. Colonel Arthur Franklin is in charge of Andrews Air Force Base. Captain Gil Morgan is Franklin’s adjunct.

Additional allies include…
Jakob, Oren, and Leah are friends and Mossad agents attached to the Israeli embassy. Mister Joel Oliver used to be derided for his alien articles until the A-Cs were exposed to the world. He’s been one of their friends ever since with a lot of clout in the news world. Bruce Jenkins, an influential reporter, joined the “team” in Alien Collective, 9. Lillian Culver is the head lobbyist for the weapons industry. Guy Gadoire is the same for tobacco. Vance Beaumont is his husband. Talia Lee is head lobbyist for the firearms lobby and a forever best friend to the National Rifle Association; she wants Lizzie’s head. The wife of Andrei Dalca, the Romanian ambassador, is Olga, a.k.a., the Oracle, a former KGB operative who is teaching her granddaughter, Adriana Dalca, to spy using the old tried-and-true methods: intelligence.

The Aliens

The Planetary Council represents the planets in the Alpha Centauri system, including Alpha Four, the planet from which Jeff and his people were exiled. Emperor Alexander is the king of Alpha Four and emperor of the entire system and Jeff’s and Christopher’s cousin. Councilor Leyton Leonidas is his chief advisor. Rohini is the Planetary Team spokesbird (he’s a penguin). Musgraff, a.k.a., King Benny, is a giant walking otter from Beta Eight (Alien Separation). Queen Renata from Beta Twelve, a.k.a., the Planet of Getting-Less-Pissed-Off-Daily Amazons, will be Tito’s mother-in-law. Her daughters, the Princesses Rahmi (she’s Tito’s fiancée) and Rhee, are missing.

The Ancients are…
…an ancient humanoid race of shape-shifters. Rudolph “John” Wruck has turned out to be an Ancient (Alien in Chief, 12). Vaya is his Poof.

The Black Hole Universe is…
…where Algar is from. A dwarf, he’s on the run from his people and is the Operations Team, a.k.a., the Elves, who keeps all the A-C bases and the embassy supplied.

Enemies

The Mastermind is…
…a role that has experienced a succession of bad guys. Ronald Yates was the original Mastermind as well as the in-control superbeing Mephistopheles. He was also Richard White’s father and Jeff and Christopher’s grandfather. Not to mention he couldn’t keep it in his pants, so there are a lot of the Yates progeny out there. Trevor, a.k.a., the Tinkerer, is incredibly, incredibly talented at science, math, and creation and had been Yates’ adjunct who left.

Madeleine Siler Cartwright had been a Mastermind and was followed in the role by Clifford Goodman. The Apprentices were all trying out to become the Mastermind.

Stephanie Martini is Jeff and Christopher’s cousin. TCC is the Clarence clone brought back to earth in Alien Separation; “our” Clarence had been a traitorous A-C and Stephanie’s father.

Gustav Drax is a Vata from Vatusus and the youngest (out of 21 kids) of the Potentate, the planet’s ruler. Vatas can connect mentally with technological things.

The Crazy Eights escaped prison and are conspiring with Cliff Goodman, although there aren’t eight any more…bwah-ha-ha… “Kendroid” is a special android created by Stephanie as a substitute for what she really wants. The Forest Haven Insane Asylum had been shut down and is a cover.

LaRue Demorte Gaultier, an Ancient, murdered her fellow crew members.

Human Bad Guys
Ansom Somerall is one of the heads of Gaultier Enterprises. Janelle Gardiner is with Gaultier. Quinton Cross, who died of “Alien” Flu, had been her protector. Thomas Kendrick is head of Titan Security; Antony Marling had been its previous head. The Bloodhound Tracker, which works via DNA and general location, and Tarantula, a spying device, are some of Titan’s products. Amos Tobin is head of YatesCorp.

Marion Villanova is the chief aide for the Secretary of State. Langston Whitmore, the secretary of transportation, is in the hospital. Senator Zachary Kramer is married to Marcia. Crystal Maurer has plans and is staying married to her android husband, Cameron. Monica Strauss wanted to be president, and we think she wanted to become the next Mastermind. Dr. Tagle is the top infectious disease specialist in the world and willing to work for anyone the U.S. doesn’t like.

Hate groups include…
Club Fifty-One, one of the most vocal, has done an about-face. Mostly. Those who follow Harvey Gutermuth are still anti-alien. The Church of Hate and Intolerance is led by Farley Pecker. Who is losing followers.

The Z’porrah are…
…hostile aliens intent on destroying everyone not them with a “deep-seated hatred of the Ancients.

Informational Notes

President Vincent Armstrong was assassinated. Michael Gower and his Poof, Fuzzball, were murdered by Annette Dier in Alien in Chief. Darcy teaches the Washington Wife class. Rosemary and Douglas own Kitty’s favorite restaurant.

Troubadours have the ability to affect people using their voice, facial expression, and body movements. Imageers used to be able to touch a picture and know everything about the person in that picture. Gates look like an airport security checkpoint, but can send you thousands of miles in seconds. The main hub is the Crash Site Dome with most of the gates located in bathrooms. Power cubes are a Z’porrah device that let you move anywhere, anyhow, as long as you can “see” your location in your mind. Can you imagine how handy this would be for shopping? ACE, a.k.a., Alpha-Centauri-Earth, is a collective superconsciousness who thinks Kitty walks on water and was created to prevent earthlings (AND A-Cs) from venturing too far out into space.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a war zone in a range of browns with Kitty in torn low-waist jeans, a brown belt, and a black low-cut V-neck T with what appears to be an outline of wings stenciled on the front, her hair flying behind her, as she races with her rifle through the battle zone of tentacles at Camp David. Someone else is also armed and fighting.

I suspect the title plays off the final confrontation at Camp David, and yet it could also apply to the good guys, for they sure are playing for Camp Alien.

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