Book 1: An alien mining ship discovers a planet loaded with rare earth minerals. The aliens, known as zaftans, plan to fill their ship...

Review of Contact and Confusion -Book 1 & 2 of the Zaftan Troubles

Contact by Hank Quense book coverConfusion by Hank Quense book cover

Book 1: An alien mining ship discovers a planet loaded with rare earth minerals. The aliens, known as zaftans, plan to fill their ship with the mined minerals. Unfortunately, the planet is inhabited by intelligent beings. But what could possibly go wrong with a simple mining operation on a planet with primitive natives?

Book 2: The zaftans deploy robotic explorers to search for minerals. The robots trespass on private property and also destroy some property. A local gem miner, MacDrakin, uses his battle axe to destroy one trespassing robot. More robots are destroyed by yuk chieftain after the machines survey his tribal lands.

Uh-oh! This isn't going the way it was planned.
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"Whoa!" the creature said to Webley. "You are an ugly sucker."
At 37 and 52 pages respectively, Contact and Confusion are speedy reads. I'm more inclined to call them chapters instead of books. In a genre where massive paperbacks two or three inches thick rule supreme, these are refreshingly easy to read. Heavy on the satire and quite witty, the story portrayed is charming and comical. 

In no time at all, I was thoroughly entertained by the characters eeking out their existence in Gunderland. The world in question is inhabited by dwarves, humans, elves, yuks, and half-pints, in numerical equality of course. When the aliens arrive seeking deposits of minerals, ruckus follows shortly thereafter. 

The main characters, MacDrakin Gemfinder and Constable Leslie Higginbottom, are vividly described, quite dashing with their beard braids, and extremely likable. The aliens are, well, not. 
"The stench from the squid-like figure reminded him of dead fish baked in the hot sun for a few days."
Mmm. Hot fish. Doesn't that sound pleasant? 
Did I mention the oozing green slime? *Urp*

 An amusing read that doesn't skimp on the action but isn't heavy on the drama, fans of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams might just find the Zaftan Troubles right up your alley!

Also, one of the aliens is named Stahp. 
I don't know why that kept tickling me but it did.

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4 Paws Up!

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About the Author

Hank Quense

Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric scifi and fantasy stories. He also writes about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 14 books and 50 short stories along with a few dozen articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject.
He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.Visit Hank's websites: and