There isn’t much I can say except that I was underwhelmed by this. Even little things like milkmen plural milkman singular were hard to ignore when reading this book. Basically, the premise of the entire story is hard to get into. A scientist with the capabilities of scanning an entire planet wouldn’t contact another scientist to solve the lactose problem? I have zero problems getting on board with them not bothering to scan for something that doesn’t exist on their planet, but on the flip side if they have been studying them for any length of time it’s hard to believe they would do this. The rate at which humans consume milk in everything from coffee to dessert is hard to miss. And, when you add in animals, it becomes even harder to miss because milk is what mammals do.
As nitpicky as this seems if they do classes on how to talk to humans and even have ways to cloak themselves to appear like humans when interaction happens, out of all the things to go wrong lactose seemed an odd choice because it’s just hard to study us and not notice its abundance. I literally had yoghurt for breakfast and buttered toast. A piece of banana bread/cake and more yoghurt for last night’s snack alongside the cheesy bread I got on delivery. I even have pre-shredded cheese in my fridge. I went into this expecting to suspend a lot of belief over this milk thing but the longer I got in the harder it became to get on board with an alien entity with insanely good AI and technology that they would choose a delivery guy who, ultimately, doesn’t actually help. Usually, in these oddball over-the-top stories, you can go along for the ride because the idiot that should’ve never been chosen actually ends up being a big help. In this book, he merely takes the alien to get a sample of cow’s milk, something the AI could’ve told him to do.
So my failure to do what I planned to do aside, Kenneth the milkman is just odd. The oddest thing was when the Alien, after getting cow dung all over his pants, strips to remove them and he immediately says he’s exposing himself to him. Really? He had to strip and bending over somehow insinuates he wants to do adult things with you? How else was he supposed to remove his pants without kicking them and shimmying awkwardly and making even more of a mess than simply bending over?
Bainne, the alien, is also hard to get into. He abducts a human, who just like I said thinks he should be talking to a scientist or at least his boss because he just delivers the stuff and doesn’t consume it, and expects him to know alien rituals. They have protocols that require they look more human to interact with them so it is hard to think slipped his mind. When Kenneth asked to touch his horns the first thing he should’ve said was on my planet this means we are to be mates so unless that is your intention it’s a hard no. Obviously, he’s never seen an alien and is just curious.
They go from alien abduction, to cow dung, then naughty activity so fast it’s hard to take this book seriously even as a comedy, romance or erotic fantasy escapism. The things the jokes come from are just too far out there to believe they could happen in this setting. And then, at the end of the book, after Bainne has broken a fair share of alien protocols, his boss makes a quip about bringing playthings on the ship. Kenneth being the plaything and after this Kenneth is mad for about two paragraphs about why Bainne didn’t say he wasn’t some side piece. Sigh. He’s trying to save earth and fix the scanner, his boss will certainly not approve of the mistake or a human relationship and time is of the essence, of course he’s not going to bother with details, he wants to get back to the lab and fix the problem without her ever knowing. Anyone would’ve noticed this and it felt forced like we can’t have a romance without an impending breakup/fight.
This was the book for me, a lot of things that just happened that all seemed off and the above are just a couple of these things. The idea of a relationship coming out of earth’s impending doom with a slice of over the top humour never materialised. Which is sad because I was ready to laugh and enjoy a slice of steam on the side. For a book I went into expecting to suspend bucketloads of belief to get enjoy, this required even more of that which was a lot. The characters didn’t really make sense, the story behind the lactose snafu wasn’t built up enough for me to believe it could actually happen, and the chemistry between the two seemed odd and before it could transform from odd to interesting they were already doing the do and a couple. Even for a short story there just wasn’t enough going on here to connect me to it so I just left underwhelmed with a lot fewer laughs than I went into it hoping to receive and a big healthy dose of underdeveloped romantic and awkward plotline on the side.