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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

Super Extra Grande

by
Yoss


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Super Extra Grande



Title: Super Extra Grande
Author: Yoss
Genre: Novel
Written: 2012 (Eng. 2016)
Length: 151 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Super Extra Grande - US
Super Extra Grande - US (Spanish)
Super Extra Grande - UK
Super Extra Grande - Canada
Super Extra Grande - España
  • Spanish title: Super Extra Grande
  • Translated by David Frye

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Our Assessment:

B+ : basic, but well done

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The New Republic . 24/8/2016 Paul La Farge
The Washington Post . 17/5/2016 Nancy Hightower


  From the Reviews:
  • "There’s a lot of humor in its supersized cosmos (.....) (I)t feels slight, not entirely unlike the escapist pulp that U.S. science fiction writers churned out in the middle of the last century." - Paul La Farge, The New Republic

  • "Reminiscent of Douglas Adams -- but even more so, the satire of Rabelais and Swift -- Yoss mocks racist and sexist stereotypes while critiquing Western environmental policies via his enormous, bumbling narrator who somehow manages to save the day." - Nancy Hightower, The Washington Post

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Super Extra Grande is a quick science fiction adventure story, set in a future where faster-than-light travel has opened up the universe and six other intelligent species (of which only two others can also breathe oxygen) form a Galactic Community.
       The story is narrated by Dr. Jan Amos Sangan Dongo, "Veterinarian to the Giants":

The only veterinarian biologist or animal doctor in the whole galaxy, human or alien, who specializes in extremely large organisms.
       And there are some very, very, very large organisms in the galaxy .....
       Dr. Sangan's specialty suits him in no small part because he himself is outsized -- too much weightless-travel in his childhood led to a growth spurt that saw him top out at seven foot eleven.
       Yoss structures the story nicely: it begins with Sangan at work, maneuvering his craft through the intestines of a 'tsunami' (an animal-species, not the storms: "think of them as gigantic sea worms") -- he's being paid handsomely to retrieve a bracelet the humongous creature swallowed -- before then shifting to describe the universe and time he lives in (with all its unusual features and species) and himself in greater detail. Once that is done, the story moves on to the main adventure for him to set out on, featuring an even larger creature -- indeed, that largest species of them all -- which has ingested something rather more significant than a trivial bracelet.
       Sangan's narration is nicely varied, from the suspenseful adventures in -- or getting in and out of -- the super-creatures he has to deal with to the more casual background information he offers all along the way. At 150 pages, the novel is decidedly not 'super extra grande', yet Yoss manages to pack in surprisingly much, effortlessly world-building while also remaining focused on Sangan, who comes with his own baggage, from his size to his parents to the assistants he has employed (and the Laggoru he currently employs). Personal and public backstories are nicely woven in throughout, substantial without feeling too heavy, and with the wide-ranging subject-matter it's easy for Yoss to slip in quite a bit of amusing social (and some political) commentary (and a great deal about sex) almost incidentally The adventures Sangan gets involved in are modestly exciting -- and certainly colorful.
       Among the features of this time is that: "Spanglish has become the virtual lingua franca of the Galactic Community", and in the novel this is also how essentially all the dialogue is presented, a Spanish-English mash-up (that is further mangled by some of the non-native speakers). It's readily comprehensible, while also allowing for some amusing wordplay.
       It's Sangan's tone and approach(es) -- varied and wry --, in particular, that make Super Extra Grande an enjoyable read. From the quirks (and sex-lives) of all sorts of species to the technology of the age, Yoss presents a great deal -- generally quite amusingly, too -- and doesn't get bogged down in minutiae (as much science fiction has a tendency too).
       It's all good fun, and if it feels a bit light-weight (despite a few serious touches and sharp edges) and simple, that's fine too; it doesn't mean or need to be more. It's an enjoyable little read.

- M.A.Orthofer, 17 September 2016

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Links:

Super Extra Grande: Reviews: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Cuban author Yoss (actually: José Miguel Sánchez Gómez) was born in 1969.

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© 2016 the complete review

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