Men in Black: The Green Saliva Blues Review

Men in Black: The Green Saliva Blues is a 1999 science fiction novel written by Dean Wesley Smith and published by Spectra.  The story follows Agent Jay, a former NYPD detective, and his new partner, Agent Elle, who must track down and destroy a roving band of carnivorous–and very hungry–trees.


Positives:

  • Great characters
  • Interesting story
  • Great antagonists
  • Witty dialogue
  • Writing is handled well

Negatives:

  • Lacks suspense
  • Characters lack development
  • Story lacks complexity

Plot:  There is a group of aliens that look just like Earth plum trees called Zahurians, who’ve come to earth for a vacation and to eat their fill of meat which is basically anything sentient. MIB members Elle and Jay must race around to try to destroy these aliens because they are here illegally and are killing humans left and right.  Even worse, there are countless warships that have encircled earth wanting to destroy the aliens.  Even if it means destroying Earth.

The premise and plot are good, though it lacks complexity, it is an original story. It’s pretty fun and entertaining.  There is the sense of urgency where the agency must stop the Zahurians because there are aliens who want to torch the entire planet to get rid of the Zahurians. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  Loved the relationship between Gent Jay and Agent Elle and the witty back and forth.  Would’ve liked to have seen more done with the characters, some kind of developing arc or something deeply revealing.  If there was an issue with these two characters it’s that the story doesn’t really focus on them enough (they’re likes, dislikes, things they do on their off time, etc.).

The Zahurians are a pretty cool alien species.  Jay and Elle are tasked with destroying these aliens because they are here illegally and are killing humans.  I can’t tell if they’re actually antagonists because they don’t have any grand plans for Earth but they do eat people. (3 out of 5)

Writing:  The setup feels like it’s a continuation of the films and the writing does capture the feel of the movies.  Will admit that the tension doesn’t live up to its hype.  It’s a great science fiction read that has some good moments but nothing memorable.  The dialogue is humorous and witty just like in the films.

The Zahurians are pretty sweet.  Their methods and characteristics are interesting (the green acidic blood, they’re telepathic, carnivorous, can move, and resemble plum trees).  They ear anything (dogs, cats, birds, and humans) by cutting them up and “drinking” them through their roots.  Would’ve liked more from the Zahurians and why they’re on Earth. (3 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Men in Black: The Green Saliva Blues is a pretty good read with some fun most reminiscent of the films.  Yeah, the story lacks enough complexity to keep the suspense and stakes high and the characters lack any kind of depth or development.  But honestly, the writing does more than make up for it with the great lead characters, the original story, and the witty dialogue.  Men in Black: The Green Saliva Blues gets 3 out of 5.

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