Book Review: Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille by Brust (3 Stars)

Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille by Steven Brust

3 out of 5 stars

Read in December 2008

Warning:  Spoilers

This was not your typical Stephen Brust novel. In fact, I’ve never read anything quite like this.

It’s told in first person (with a few Intermezzos of third person to fill in the blanks) of a banjo player in a folk band named Billy. We meet Billy in Cowboy Feng’s as he listens to his band mates tuning up for the evening gig. The gig is cut short by a nuclear explosion which catapults the bar through time and space to another planet. They were on Mars, prior to that on Venus, prior to that a lunar colony and original in London on Old Earth.

Eventually, we learn there is a war being fought between two factions of humanity. One faction is a society based on fear and ignorance, using a fatal disease (called Hag’s disease) as a catalyst. This society uses the disease as an excuse to quarantine itself and destroy the rest of humanity to prevent the spread of infection. The small group of employees at Feng’s bar and the band members who were accidentally (perhaps) sucked into the rebel cause, are trying to discover how to stop the extermination of billions of humans by the enemy.

The story was engaging, sometimes funny, sometimes violent and eventually reached a conclusion that was sacrificial but successful. It was an interesting read, but I’m not sure I would re-read it.

GR Status Updates:

12/21/2008 page 1 0.45%
12/21/2008 page 13 5.83% “Finished chapter 1 and starting Intermezzo”
12/21/2008 page 30 13.45% “Starting chapter 3”
12/21/2008 page 62 27.8% “In the midst of chapter 5 when I burst out laughing (see comment for more).” 1 comment
12/21/2008 page 94 42.15% “Billy find “Sugar Bear” but it’s not at all sweet like honey.”
12/22/2008 page 121 54.26% “Billy just found out the reason there’s a contract out on him.”
12/22/2008 page 158 70.85% “Starting chapter 13” 3 comments
12/22/2008 page 191 85.65% “Almost time for the finale”
12/22/2008 page 214 95.96% “Would have finished this except for annoying irritating absent minded husband”
12/22/2008 page 223 100.0% “Finis”