I know, I know ... Hal is a loon, he crashes his ship into things, he's over-confident, he couldn't make money as a crude oil salesman. Laughs, disasters, mayhem.
However, there's another side to the Hal books, and one which I rarely see recognised in reviews and comments. Rest assured I'm not going to go all 'comic actor aspires to play Hamlet' on you - entertainment is my game, and in my novels I'll always choose funny over sending a message - but it's nice when someone picks up on the satirical aspects of Hal.
Because I DO use the books to flag concerns about the nature of humanity, our throwaway society, greed, racism, more greed, self-interest and so on. It might only be a throwaway line buried somewhere in the text, but it's there all the same. (I didn't earn two degrees and learn three languages just because I was quick with a quip. There's something ticking away behind the half smile ...)
So it was nice to see SFFworld's comment in their news release regarding the Hal Spacejock ebook: "Deliberately mixing anachronisms with futuristic gadgets, Haynes pokes wicked fun at our own Ipods and cellphone obsessions, while looking more seriously at issues of identity, friendship and freedom."
Unfortunately, comic SF has top billing in the sugar-laden artificially-coloured breakfast cereals category. It's quick, tasty and sweet, so it can't possibly contain any goodness. Then again, if you're trying to tempt kids who refuse to eat breakfast ...
Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)