Verdict: Creative and cranky, FIETLEBAUM’S ESCAPE creates an unlikely hero worth following through outer space.
Issac Fietlebaum may be fluent in Yiddish and the finer aspects of Jewish cuisine but he is not, as one might expect, an average Jewish Earthling. Born on planet Hijdor, Fietlebaum’s past is one of great study and greater tragedy. With his wife long deceased and his professional life in a long downward spiral, Fietlebaum works as a psychiatrist on the notoriously dull planet of Polmod. When, due to his extensive background in psychopharmacology, he becomes engulfed in a plot to discredit the Janpooran labor leader Teysoot Motzo, Fietlebaum soon finds his predictable life turned upside down. With his only hope for escape being an involvement in a dangerous intergalactic drug trade, Fietlebaum finds himself traversing outer space with the only man he can trust; the boorish Janpooran labor leader he originally attempted to discredit. As the two form an unlikely alliance they encounter gangsters, the mentally ill, and an ongoing quest for decent food.
Novel in its approach to the intergalactic adventure, Fietlebaum is anything but the stereotypical hero. Old, somewhat cranky, and utilizing speech peppered with Yiddish expressions, he is not what one might imagine the usual sci-fi protagonist to be. Fietlebaum’s only real defenses against the hostilities of the galaxy are his deft ability with science and his stalwart ability to not quit. Nevertheless, Fietlebaum succeeds as a protagonist worth rooting for, particularly as he attempts to bring the boisterous but loveable Teysoot Motzo in line.
Though slowed at times by details (such as the miraculous appearance of a Jewish deli on the planet of Silesia and subsequent meals eaten there by our heroes), the adventure maintains a steady, sometimes silly, pace in the tradition of Douglas Adams.
Creative and cranky, FIETLEBAUM’S ESCAPE creates an unlikely hero worth following through outer space.
Reviewed by Collin Marchiando for IndieReader.