Book Review: The Last Volunteer

Amazon Cover

The Last Volunteer by Steven Wetherell


The fate of the world lies with one man: Bip Plunkerton.

Talentless psyentist and frequent drinker at The Empty Goat, young Bip Plunkerton will follow in his father’s footsteps as a Volunteer…footsteps that have yet to return from the wilds of the wide world outside.

Traverse the harsh weather of the formidable Ice Plains, navigate the Boiling Sea, and suffer the ravaging heat of the Bone Desert. Bip’s impossible task, continually thwarted by the semi-corporeal Mr. Random, is to warn the rest of the world of the coming doom of the Massive Ball of Death hurtling through space.

Will the last volunteer be any more successful than the first? Will Bip save planet Bersch from a fate set into motion millennia before? Probably not, but we can likely drag these questions out for a couple more books, though.



Steve Wetherell presents an excellent yarn for the Comedic Science Fiction genre, a genre woefully underrepresented in the fictional field, except for a few standouts like Isaac Asimov’s short stories filled with puns and, the giant whale in the field, Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The story satires gaming (both computer games and roleplaying), politics, criminal activity, education, the job market, weather, travel, and anything else which strikes Wetherell’s fancy, while providing laugh-out-loud descriptions of people and places. Following our heroic hero Bip, and an anti-hero adventuring alien Hostility Advisor Haden, and a semi-sentient Massive Ball of Death, and the truly-sentient Answer to Everything, the Universal Theory, or just Ted to friends, and the rest of the erratic group of point-of-view characters, creates a kaleidoscope of improbabilities that become probable in their collective existence.

As an editing note: I am impressed with Wetherell’s ability to blend three (or more) different timelines into a coherent narrative, using each of the POV characters to reveal more of the world/universe, develop characters, and drive the plot forward. All the while being funny.