Title: Service Goat
Author: Piers Anthony
Amazon rating: 3.7 stars
Orphaned and blind seven-year-old Callie has a service animal – a goat with extraordinary powers.
Ben Hemoth is a down-on-his luck news reporter facing prison. Needing to save his job and his reputation, he teams up with Venus, a young seductress caught up with a teenage drug gang.
When a mysterious letter arrives detailing a top-secret investigative operation, Ben and Venus think they’ve found their chance for redemption. The mission? Investigate a goat.
In exchange for an extravagant paycheck, Ben and Venus must piece together the wild rumors swirling around Callie, her supernatural goat, and a possible UFO visit.
Piers Anthony’s Service Goat is an extraordinary tale rich with adventure, extraterrestrial visitors, secrecy, dangerous governmental operations, and the classic hints of mischief that readers have come to expect and love from the New York Times bestselling author of the Xanth series.
Reviewed by: David Wiley
This is a hard book to review. I read and enjoyed a decent number of his Xanth novels in my younger years, which was the reason why I agreed to read this book. Anthony’s humor and style are definitely on display in this novella, starting with the idea of using a goat as a service animal. There are some very compelling reasons to read this story, in spite of its few flaws.
Alien invasion stories are no longer the hip thing to write about, which is what makes this entry a refreshing tale. It is no longer being oversaturated by anyone and everyone, which makes it an enjoyable plot to explore once again. In this case the invaders are aliens that look like goats, and this is nothing more than an initial scouting party looking to find a planet where they could live in relative peace and harmony. This goat, Nanny, is the first to land and finds Callie, a young girl who just lost her parent and her eyes in a car crash. Touching the goat helps her to forget the pain, as well as allows her to see through the goat’s eyes. What ensues is a large conspiracy where those who interact with the goat are brought in on the goat’s side and, in all cases, become part of a conspiracy of silence.
On the other side is detective Ben Hemoth and his girlfriend, Venus. I’ll admit, it got to the point where I rolled my eyes every time it mentioned they had sex. Because that gets mentioned about half a dozen times in every chapter from Ben’s POV. It never bothered me, per se, but it got to the point where I just got fatigued from reading that kind of like how I got tired of hearing about Nynaeve tugging her braid during the Wheel of Time series. I get having character quirks, but there are times when they can be taken to the point where they are overused, like this one.
Overall, though, it was a fun and short read. It may not have been quite as good if this had been turned into a longer work. The length fit it well for what this was, and I am grateful I had the chance to read this one. If you like a little humor mixed into your Science Fiction and you are looking for a book you could potentially read in a day, this is definitely one that would be a nice match for you.