Kilgore Trout is the name of a fictional SF writer created by Kurt Vonnegut,Jr. who appeared in a number of his stories. Trout was based on Vonnegut’s friend Theodore Sturgeon, not as a reflection of his writing talent but just on his last name.
Trout wrote over a hundred and seventeen novels and two thousand short stories. He never achieved fame because…he was just a bad writer. This book is considered his masterpiece. It’s more than obvious that Farmer was having a good time writing it. If you go into it knowing the background you’ll have a lot of fun with it.
The story involves Simon Wagstaff aka/The Space Wanderer. He’s the stuff legends are made of and his exploits are the basis for a popular TV series. He travels the universe with his pet dog Anubis, his pet owl Athena and a female robot named Chworktap. To relax he has an atomic powered electrical banjo. One day he may learn how to play it. He’s seeking the answer to “Why are we created only to suffer and die?” He’ll find out on the planet of geniuses, Clerun-Wowph. It won’t be easy getting there.
After an encounter with a time traveler obsessed with finding out who won the world series in 2457, he and his pets take off in the abandoned Chinese spaceship Hwang Ho. One stop is Shaltoon. The natives have evolved from cats. Everyday is mating season. After a sexual encounter with Queen Margaret she rewarded him with immortality. He eventually meets Chworktap who came out of the ocean looking like Botticelli’s Birth Of Venus. Her last owner hit her in the head scrambling some circuits. She still services Simon but has a mind of her own.
On the planet Giffard, Simon gets involved in the issues between male and female. After that adventure the group is off to Dokal. Simon is upset that Chworktap is investigating the ship’s computer Tzu Li aka/Elder Sister Plum. Simon is jealous of Chworktap’s intelligence. That leads to their first argument. Simon explains the work of author Jonathan Swift Somers III. He was the prize winning writer of a detective series involving a German Shepard with an IQ of two hundred. This is a very funny sequence.
On Dorkal the natives are human accept for a prehensile tail. They natives feel sorry for Simon because he doesn’t have a tail and kidnap him and take him to a hospital where a tail is attached. His quest for the answer continues with a hazardous trek to the mountaintop home of Mofeislop Shintsloop aka/The Great Tail.
After struggling to get there, Simon and his pets are welcomed. Chworktap stayed back with the ship to play with the computer. The Great Tail says he has the answer Simon is looking for. Simon has made better choices.
There’s more adventure to come along with sex, jokes and laughs. I’ll say again, take it in the spirit in which it was written and you’ll have a good time.