by Lawrence M. Schoen
Hadley Rille Books, 260 pp.
I was very excited to receive a review copy of Buffalito Destiny in the mail recently. It’s the first Amazing Conroy novel by Lawrence Schoen. There were, however, two previous chapbooks which featured the Amazing Conroy which I can proudly say I was the first to review (Nth Degree #8, December 2003).
For anyone that missed the chapbooks: Conroy is a former stage hypnotist that now runs a multi-national corporation that specializes in leasing buffalo dogs. Buffalo dogs are an alien species resembling tiny buffaloes that can eat anything and fart oxygen as a bi-product. As enjoyable as the chapbooks were (I do still recommend looking them up, available through SRM Publishers) the novel stands on its own quite nicely. Schoen gives us a catchy opening chapter that establishes Conroy’s beginnings as a hypnotist before jumping into the main action. And jump he does. The central plot involves meddling aliens, a radical isolationist terrorist group, and plenty of pro-earth green activity. It’s a fast-moving story with plenty of wicked humor that reminds me a lot of the classic science fiction I read growing up. On top of all that, Schoen drops hints at a much bigger, fully realized future that I’d like to know more about: New New Jersey? And a major chrono-schism in what used to be the state of Texas could be a whole novel in its own right. Brilliant, fast-paced storytelling with eccentrically oddball characters make this a jump-off-the-shelf must read.