Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
Everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too : a book
Please select and request a specific volume by clicking one of the icons in the 'Find It' section below.
Find It
Map It
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  New York Times Review

PITY POOR, NERDY GORK. He'S prone to fainting and sweating. He crashes into walls. He's an orphan, a virgin and a would-be poet. He's got every classic loser trait short of bedwetting. "I feel so ashamed, I just want to vacate my life," Gork laments. Reading his name, we're meant to hear "dork." Gork's also got horns and they're too short. The horny kid is, in fact, a dragon from the planet Blegwethia, the setting for Gabe Hudson's genre-bending new coming-of-age tale, "Gork, the Teenage Dragon." Gorkis about to graduate from War Wings Academy, an institution whose cutthroat corridors and cliques might recall your high school, if it were crawling with giant reptiles. In Hudson's cartoonish universe of anthropomorphic, adolescent dragons, jocks and "normals" inhabit the upper social strata. Then come nerds, mutants and "Dragobots" like Gork's cybernetic gal-pal, Fribby. The whole enterprise drifts more than a few puffs away from Peter, Paul and Mary's "land called Honah Lee," closer to Hogwarts and Holden Caulfield's Pencey Prep. Gork and his fellow cadets may snort "firebolts" and belch "firestreams," but they also pilot sentient spacecraft, wear capes and wield "powerstaffs": souped-up scepter/smartphones packed with gadgets like teleporters and lasers that would make Wile E. Coyote drool. The story picks up with Crown Day and EggHarvest, the annual ritual where male cadets pair up with female queens, and then embark, via spaceship, to conquer and colonize other planets, which they populate with baby dragons that result when the couple "rub scales." But with his "big stupid over-large heart" and rock-bottom "mating magnetism score," Gork's got no macho dragon mojo. Find no mate, and he'll become a slave. Hudson, formerly an editor for McSweeney's, made a splash with his darkly comic debut collection of short fiction, "Dear Mr. President" (2002), set during the gulf war. "Gork, the Teenage Dragon" is an uneven follow-up whose execution doesn't live up to its premise. For one, I wondered about Hudson's intended audience. The storytelling feels too libidinous (and occasionally gruesome) for middle grade or young adult readers. Gork's idea of clever is to refer repeatedly to his "scaly green ass," when he's not ogling every "juicy dragonette," especially the "luscious tail" of Runcita, the shedragon he fancies. Yet the humor and action seem too slapstick to appeal to most adults. And Gork's voice - a crucial element, since he's a first-person, present-tense narrator - often lands like a dead weight on the page. "Anyway, now back to this battle in the spaceship. Well like I was saying, Athenos II's muscular tentacle is bashing Fribby's shiny head ... Bam bam bam bam bam." Gork's speech is oddly peppered with anachronistic exclamations - "yes sir," "shoot" and "doodlysquat." Is this a moody, hormonal teenager or a caricature of a Depression-era codger? Hudson's bigger obstacle is that most of the novel's events unfold on that single EggHarvest day. The pace slows to a crawl. One can sense Hudson running out of ways to thwart Gork from getting the girl. Hence, many repetitive scenes describe encounters with bullies. As if from a cosmic grab-bag, Hudson pulls out sword-and-sorcery and sci-fi standards, including wormholes, a prophecy and a mad scientist (Dr. Terrible, Gork's grandfather) who's created a mind-swapping machine. Paean, pastiche or parody? If Hudson means to lampoon genre conventions, in the spirit of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, his blade is too dull. Still, a more worldwise Gork occasionally shines through. In Chapter 1, he takes a bite at "that bastard" J.R. R. Tolkien, whose "The Hobbit," he complains, "paints us dragons out to be a bunch of ignorant and repulsive savages." That's more like it. I wish "Gork, the Teenage Dragon" had more teeth. An outcast of another species can be found in Jomny Sun's "Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too." Jomny is the alter ego of Jonathan Sun, an architect, artist and M.I.T. doctoral student whose Twitter witticisms have racked up nearly half a million followers. In this book-length comic collection of Sun's social media routine - I hesitate to call it a "graphic novel," since it lacks much of a plot - a kidney-beanlike alien naif is sent to our world to "please find out abot the earbth creatures." Jomny meets various insecure beings, and the text-lite encounters, written with intentional misspellings, are illustrated with minimalist black-and-white drawings. A wise owl is plagued with self-doubt; a fledgling artisthedgehog thinks, "I suck, I am crap"; an onion reveals that if you peel back its layers you'll find "just a smaller, mor afraid onion." Think Wall-E meets E.T., Ziggy meets "Mork and Mindy." The situational wisdom and one-liners the "aliebn" gleans about art, life, friendship and loneliness run alternately banal and poignant. Your Jomny-love may depend on your stomach for non sequiturs, cute animals and puns (a beaver says "dam business"; an otter thinks it's an "auteur") but also perhaps on your age. I grew up with "Peanuts" and "Calvin and Hobbes," "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" and "Star Wars," Monty Python and Shel Silverstein. Sun knows these forebears; in one of the best gags, a tree tells the alien it "learned to stop giving things" just because people "want somthing", poking fun at Silverstein's pop-philosophy classic "The Giving Tree." Perhaps the appeal of "Gork" and "Everyone's a Aliebn" is generational. To be sure, each peer group needs its silly fix, its revenge-of-the-nerds outsider triumph, its conquering dragonHarry Potter mashup. So if these heroes speak to you, blast off with them. ETHAN GILSDORF is the author of "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms."
<p>everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too is the illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, only to meet all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, all while learning to feel a little better about being an alien--based on the enormously popular Twitter account, @jonnysun.</p> <p>Here is the unforgettable story of Jomny, a lonely alien who, for the first time ever, finds a home on our planet after learning that earthlings can feel lonely too. Jomny finds friendship in a bear tired of other creatures running away in fear, an egg struggling to decide what to hatch into, an owl working its way to being wise, a tree feeling stuck in one place, a tadpole coming to terms with turning into a frog, a dying ghost, a puppy unable to express itself, and many more.</p> <p>Through this story of a lost, lonely and confused alien finding friendship, acceptance, and love among the creatures of Earth, we will all learn how to be a little more human. And for all of us earth-bound creatures here on this planet, we can all be reminded that sometimes, it takes an outsider to help us see ourselves for who we truly are.</p> <p> </p>
Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1