Somewhat Sammie
by Jan Schaeffer

"Sammie protested, 'I think I remember not being a clone.' 'You also remember battling a minotaur,' Jelly Guide pointed out."

Suddenly and without warning, a bottle of whiskey falls from the sky and lands upright on the table of a brewery with matching branding. Noticed only by the proprietor of the establishment, it’s placed aside from the other bottles and its curiosity quickly forgotten. Shortly thereafter, a giant spaceship destroys the moon. After this, such happenings are normal now in the life of Sammie, the Crabby Whack’s brewmaster, or rather in the life of his clone, created by aliens to live in a sort of simulated environment known as The Embassy despite more closely resembling a zoo. Living among a host of aliens and dealing with concern over the fate of his home planet and the encroaching realization that The Embassy is his home planet given his cloned state, Sammie attempts to find both meaning and normalcy in an increasingly bizarre world.

With its science fiction approach and constant humor, it’s hard not to compare this book to the work of Douglas Adams. Like Adams, Schaeffer provides us in Sammie an everyman, someone who takes life on the chin, offering up a protest from time to time but never really with the kind of follow-through to enact change. The self-important airs that humanity places on itself and its customs because they’re all we know are laid bare in hilarious fashion, and genuine ethical concerns surprise the reader as they work their way into the text but are never heavy-handed and not far removed from techno-accompanied zero gravity flight dancing or the vwoop! of a faulty clone that needs disposing of. Marvelously imaginative and effortlessly capturing the general disbelief, detachment, and malaise of modern life, this concise story is sure to elicit laughter and wonderment in equal measures.

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