A New York Times Notable Book for 1999
Synopses & Reviews
The strange land of Washington, D.C., is teeming with aliens, politicians, and other bizarre life-forms. Beltway insider and stuffy talk show host John Oliver Banion finds his privileged life turned topsy-turvy when he is abducted by aliens from his exclusive country-club golf course. When he is abducted a second time, he believes he has found his true calling and, in the most pasionate crusade of his life, demands that Congress and the White House seriously investigate the existence of extraterrestrials and UFOs. Friends and family, meanwhile, urge Banion to seek therapy before his reputation is ruined for good.
A comic tour de force from "one of the best and surest political humorists in America" (Los Angeles Times Book Review), Little Green Men is an uproarious comedy of manners that proves once and for all that the truth is out there. Way out there.
"Celebrity trials, populist bile and The X-Files get the Buckley (God Is My Broker; Thank You for Smoking) skewer in this fast-paced satire. John O. Banion is an acerbic journalist, a talk-show host, a D.C. insider and proud of it. MJ-12 is a secret federal program (based on a real-life program of the same name) that stages alien abductions to maintain popular support for military spending and space exploration. When he is 'probed' by 'aliens' at a golf course, Banion becomes a true believer in UFOs. Ostracized by the D.C. establishment, he uses his TV show to organize millions of UFO cultists (the 'Millennium Men'), who gather on the Mall (the 'Millennium Man March') and just may bring down the government. Consistently hilarious and painfully topical, the novel can resemble a series of stand-up comedy routines; it's dense with one-liners, inside jokes, mini-exposes and tangential riffs on peripheral characters, from FBI men to Larry King. But Buckley's plot is no drawing-room farce: he envisions national catastrophes, convergences of millions of people, the stuff of big-budget disaster movies and spy thrillers. His wit-above-all style combines with his ambitious plot to flatten his characters: the few sympathetic relationships between a refugee secret agent and his down-home fisherman protector, or between Banion and a sexy UFO crusader seem out of place, little lumps of feeling in an otherwise smooth, cool gelatin of extended banter. By the time the climactic courtroom scenes have tied up the subplots, the novel seems both hurried and cluttered: half monologue, half screenplay. Buckley delivers the irreverent comedy his fans are looking for, but those seeking more complexity from their political fiction, or more three-dimensional characters, may feel, well, alienated." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] fine comic confection....Buckley's satire is poised always sharp but never sour." The New Yorker
"[T]he true strength of this witty, high-spirited romp is its whirlwind plot....It is clear on just about every page...that Christopher Buckley had enormous fun writing [this book]." Mordecai Richler, The New York Times Book Review
"A prankster's greatest fantasy....A decidedly bawdy book, with that classic Monty Python mixture of highbrow satire and lowbrow ribaldry." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor
"Buckley's eye for paramilitary and media-driven nonsense remains keen, and the book hums with hilarious one-liners....The dizzily mixed result isn't much of a novel, though its a highly amusing and likable entertainment." Kirkus Reviews
"Alas, while Buckley's new satire, Little Green Men, offers some laugh-out-loud moments, it deteriorates half-way into amusing shtick....It sputters out rather than builds to a conclusion. Like a sighted UFO." Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
"This well-written political and social satire from the author of Wry Martinis is highly recommended for all popular collections." Library Journal
About the Author
Christopher Buckley, whose novel themovie is based on, is the editor of ForbesFYI magazine and the author of elevenbooks, many of them national bestsellers,including Thank You for Smoking. He isthe winner of the distinguished ThurberPrize for American humor.Jean Strouse won the Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy for her biography Alice James. She lives in New York City.