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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Book Review: Service Goat by Piers Anthony

Service Goat
by Piers Anthony
October 7, 2016

Service Goat
Kindle Edition, 98 pages
Orphaned and blind seven-year-old Callie has a service animal – a goat with extraordinary powers. 

Ben Hemoth is a down-on-his luck news reporter facing prison. Needing to save his job and his reputation, he teams up with Venus, a young seductress caught up with a teenage drug gang. 

When a mysterious letter arrives detailing a top-secret investigative operation, Ben and Venus think they’ve found their chance for redemption. The mission? Investigate a goat. 

In exchange for an extravagant paycheck, Ben and Venus must piece together the wild rumors swirling around Callie, her supernatural goat, and a possible UFO visit. 

Piers Anthony’s Service Goat is an extraordinary tale rich with adventure, extraterrestrial visitors, secrecy, dangerous governmental operations, and the classic hints of mischief that readers have come to expect and love from the New York Times bestselling author of the Xanth series.

I was excited to receive Service Goat to review, as I was a fan of Piers Anthony’s books, including the Xanth series. I loved the idea of a goat as an intelligent alien species, who comes to Earth to check out the planet as a place for her “enclave” and to meet the sapiens of the world. Which she finds are not goats, but the hairless apes. Doe, or Nanny, as she becomes, finds a human girl alive after a crash. Her eyes are gorged out and both of her parents dead. Once the girl, Callie, touches Nanny, she no longer feels the agony of the pain and can see through Nanny’s eyes. They go to a doctor, who they have touch Nanny to join a conspiracy of silence. The doctor takes them home and his wife joins the conspiracy too. Soon, many in the town join it.

Chapters about Nanny and Callie are not too bad. But the other chapters that alternate with the Nanny ones—concerning Ben Hemoth and Venus—I didn’t quite care for. Ben met Venus, investigating the gang she is part of, and ended up in jail because of her, losing his job as reporter and his wife, then rehooking up with her—they seemed to have sex at the drop of a hat, didn’t jibe with me. Once they met the goat and sex wasn’t the core of their story, it became better. Still not enough to get the highest score for the book’s review.

If you enjoy reading Piers Anthony, this book is not quite on par with many of his earlier works. I am not sure why he picked goats as the intelligent alien coming to our planet, still, I kind of get the humor in his choice. Service Goat is udderly, a fun, quick science fiction that turns the alien invasion upside down.

I give Service Goat 3½ sheep.

Pamela K. Kinney

About the Author:
Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environmentalist and lives on a tree farm in Florida with his wife. They have two grown daughters.

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