In Phil!, R.P. Momsen presents an amusing look at the cosmos, from the perspective of an alien in charge of overseeing Earth named Phil. The book is filled with witty passages, such as when Phil visits some aliens and they begin philosophizing, saying “‘Perhaps they’re not actually visitors, but our minds are perceiving that we need visitors.’” Momsen juxtaposes the foreign nature of aliens and strange worlds with understated, often unexpected, humorous points of view, much like Adams’ A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Phil and four newfound friends travel the universe, ending up in a slave ship full of people who do not know they are slaves because the ship is so much fun, traveling through a black hole and back, and writing a list while drunk in a pub of nine rules to live by for people on a newly formed planet. Ironically, when the planet later evolves, the five are known as the “great wise men,” highlighting again through satire people’s gullibility and desire for knowledge and faith—even among people whose society is detached from earth and just beginning. Overall, the novel looks at people and aliens and societies of all kinds, and surmises that the one thing they all have in common is their enjoyment of a good pub. One is not sure if this is a good thing or not, but either way the novel makes for a fun and comedically entertaining read.
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