Friday 8 December 2023

The Holiday Special - Barry J Hutchinson - Space Team Book 2.5

The Holiday Special
Space Team 2.5

The Holiday Special - Barry J Hutchinson - Space Team Book 2.5

First I want to note this story was previously available as a standalone volume both as an eBook and Audio book. Since that time it has been combined with 5 other short stories set in the Space Team Universe called, Space Team: A Lot of Weird Space Shizz: Collected Short Stories, and is considered volume 6.5 in the series. Weather you have access to the standalone version or read it as part of the collection, it is a fun read in a good series.

Nearly a year ago before reading this I encountered the works of J.D. Kirk I also discovered that Kirk publishes children’s books as Barry Hutchison, and other adult fiction as Barry J. Hutchison. I have read 24 stories published under the Kirk Name and I am now branching out to the ones under the Hutchinson names. This is the 19th I have read under one of the Hutchison names. He is published over 200 books across the three pen names, and books he has ghost written. If I had known that or I might not have picked up this first one. Friends call me a ‘completionist’ in that when I find an author I like, I try to read everything they have published. I have enjoyed all I have read from his pen and this one was no different. This is the second in the Space Team Series I have read, and I have read the first in the spin off Deadman Detective Series

The description of this story is:

“Die Hard meets the Nativity - in space! A Space Team short story.

Having successfully saved the galaxy on his very first day in space, Cal Carver and the crew of the Shatner drop by the North Star space station for Kroyshuk - an annual celebration of peace and goodwill - and some well-earned rest and relaxation..”

The introduction states:

“Welcome to the Space Team Holiday Special! This short story is set between the events of the first two novels in the series, Space Team and Space Team: The Wrath of Vajazzle. While the title of the story is inspired by the hypnotically dreadful Star Wars Holiday Special, you can rest assured that there the similarities end. Mostly.

This story was originally written as a free giveaway for members of Team Space Team, a group of readers who have signed up for notifications and news on the Space Team series, and who I regularly shower with free reads.

If you’re reading the preview of this book and haven’t yet bought it, go ahead and grab it for free via my website. If you’ve already paid for it then, hey, at least it was cheap, and you can still grab some other free books at that same link, including an exclusive prequel to my Space Team spin-off, The Bug, and a short horror story, The Bone House.

But for now, settle down, make yourself comfortable, imagine the cast of the story waving awkwardly at the camera while someone announces their name in an overly-enthusiastic manner, and enjoy this Space Team Holiday Special…”

Even the cover asks: “So, Uh, This isn’t actually canon, is it?” again giving a hat tip to that ill fated Star Wars tv special. The team finds themselves on a station during a regional holiday. Due to Cal always finding a way to get into trouble they are soon protecting a pregnant woman from pirates, bounty hunters and just about anyone without a conscious. So unto the Space Team a child we be born. It’s not quite space Christmas, but it comes close for Cal, a human so far from home.

This was another fun read. There is a lot of slap stick humour. Some over the top antics, and at times it is laugh out loud funny. This book and the series reminds me of several series and authors, most of whom, I read when I was much younger. So, in a way it was like a jump back in time for me. The first to come to mind was Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steal Rat series with his Bill the Galactic Hero series, the next was Robert Asprin’s Phule’s Company Series, it also brought to mind the works of Tom Holt and of course the comparison to Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker Series are going to abound. But for all the sense of a mash up of these other series there is something different about this offering, and that is even more evident in this second offering in the series. The series now comprises 13 novels and 6 published short stories or novellas, and three side stories in this universe featuring Dan Deadman. Recently Hutchison in an article talked about how the first in this series was written to learn about self publishing so he could speak to school students about it. I for one am thankful he took the gig and started along this path. I think that has to do with Hutchinson’s characters and sense of humour. And the characters in this story are wild. Delenn in Babylon 5 states:

“Of course it is, for the simple reason that no one else would've ever built a place like this. Humans share one unique quality. They build communities. If the Narns or the Centauri or any other race built a station like this, it would be used only by their own people, but everywhere humans go, they create communities out of diverse and sometimes hostile populations. It is a great gift and a terrible responsibility, one that cannot be abandoned.”

Cal a low-level con man, who is scooped up from Earth by the Zertex corporation to help stop an intergalactic war, is that type of character. He builds community and he tags this odd assortment or military personnel, criminals, and a shape shifting blob and forges them into the Space Team. In this 2.5 story there is a lot of action, some body humour, and also some serious moments. 

I freely admit I have greatly enjoyed all the books by Hutchinson that I have read to date, no matter what name they are published under. This one is a fun read in an entertaining series, it is shaping up to be a terribly humorous series. It has more of a Young Adult feel to it than mainline adult fiction to me, but I am certain it will have fans in both categories. Another good read from the pen of Hutchison.    

Books by J.D. Kirk:

DCI Logan Series:

Robert Hoon Thrillers:

DI Heather Filson Series:

Contributed to:
Everyday Kindness: A Collection of Uplifting Tales to Brighten Your Day

Books as Barry J. Hutchison:
Dan Deadman Space Detective Series:
Dead in the Water

Space Team Series:
The Search for Splurt 
Song of the Space Siren 
The Guns of Nana Joan 
Return of the Dead Guy 
Planet of the Japes 
The Time Titan of Tomorrow 
The King of Space Must Die 
Sting of the Mustard Mines 
Sentienced to Death
The Hunt for Reduk Topa
Konto Garr: Bounty Hunter and Occasional Babysitter
A Lot of Weird Space Shizz: Collected Short Stories

Sidekicks Initiative Series:

The Bug Books Series:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Complete Season One

Other Books:

Children’s books as Barry Hutchison:
Invisible Fiends Series:
The Crowmaster 
Doc Mortis 
The Beast 
The Darkest Corners 

The Missing Remote of the Apocalypse
The Book of Doom 

Benjamin Blank Series:
The Moon-Faced Ghoul-Thing 

Beaky Malone Series:

Generator Rex Series:
Mirror Mirror

Living Ted Series:
Revenge of the Living Ted
Invasion of the Living Ted

Spectre Collectors Series:
Too Ghoul for School
A New York Nightmare!

Other works:

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