Sonderbooks Book Review of

Strange Planet

by Nathan W. Pyle

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Strange Planet

by Nathan W. Pyle

Review posted March 24, 2020.
William Morrow Gift Books, 2019. 144 pages.
Review written December 26, 2019, from my own copy, signed by the author and purchased via
Starred Review

I’m a big fan of Nathan Pyle’s comics posted on Facebook with smooth-bodied aliens living the lives of humans but describing what they are doing in very basic terms that highlight the absurdity or simplicity.

I’ve decided that the alien way of speaking reminds me of nice logical German word construction when the aliens called an umbrella a “sky shield,” because the actual German word for umbrella is Regenschirm, which broken down translates as “rain shield.”

Many of the words make you look at the things in a different way, such as the aliens calling a vacuum cleaner a “rollsuck” which has “the filth window.” Or honey, which is called “plant liquid partially digested by insects and then stolen.” Or balloons, which are “elastic breath traps.” Coffee is “jitter liquid,” and a vase is a “death cylinder” for holding “dying plants.”

Names for things are fun, but the interaction between people and between people and animals can be wonderfully touching. I think my favorite is the one that begins with one of the aliens crying. Their friend says, “Why does your face malfunction? Request mutual limb enclosure.”
“Permission granted.”
As they hug, the crying friend says, “You are absorbing my face fluids.”
“Let me absorb.
Let me absorb.”

I also love the one where one alien is on the phone, saying:

“Hello we do not want to make sustenance.
We will literally pay a being to come here with sustenance.
Please pile edible items onto a vast dough circle.
OK Gratitude. We will stay here and do nothing.”

There are certainly days I would pay a being to come to my home with sustenance.

I find myself sharing Nathan Pyle’s comics often, so when he was promoting a special on autographed copies of his new book, I thought it would be a great way to support an author and pick up some Christmas gifts. I’m happy to say that the unsigned one I’d previously preordered for myself (had to hit the dollar limit) was a maximum-traded item at the staff Christmas party this year!

If you haven’t seen Nathan Pyle’s work, try this out. If you have: There’s a book out!