[Book Review] Baen Books: ‘Hoka! Hoka! Hoka!’

THE HOKAS ARE BACK IN THIS CLASSIC OF HUMOROUS SF
FROM POUL ANDERSON AND GORDON R. DICKSON.

The Interbeing League had been formed to make contact with new intelligent races in the galaxy and offer them membership. But when the League encountered the Hokas, furry creatures strongly resembling the teddy bears of Earth, the League’s agent, Alexander Jones, could have been excused for wishing he had a simpler assignment than making sense out of the Hokas—such as singlehandedly stopping an interstellar war.

Not that the fuzzy aliens were unfriendly. In fact, they loved everything about humans, and adopted various Terram cultures wholesale and in every little detail—but with a bit of confusion about the differences between fact and fiction. So, if the Hokas suddenly started outing out the parts in a rip-roaring, shoot-em-up western, or brought to life the London of Sherlock Holmes, complete with a pip-puffing, deerstalker-wearing Hoka, or suddenly decided to fly the Jolly Roger and lead a life of adventure and piracy on the high seas, mate—well, that was to be expected. And as the Hokas threw themselves wholeheartedly into progressively wilder worlds from Terran history and fiction, Jones could be excused for feeling that his grip on reality was hanging by a single, thin, increasingly frayed thread.

Science fiction over the years has given birth to a wide variety of unique stories, characters, worlds, and even technologies. Much of this material comes in a more serious manner. But when readers will pick up this particular collection of stories, they will be treated to something that is not only out of this world, it will have them laughing with each page and story.

This is a collection of stories by the team of Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson. It was originally published as a series of short stories, then collected first in 1957 in Earthman’s Burden. What followed after was the novel Star Prince Charlie (1975) and a collection of new stories, Hoka! (1983). Baen Books reissued the original stories in this handsome volume, with a subsequent one entitled Hokas Pokas!.

These stories are beautifully written, and people are instantly given a fully fleshed out world that sets up the nature of humanities interacting with the Hoka and how things spiral out of control when the Hoka start adapting Earth fiction as real life into their culture and customs.

The collection was so engaging that once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down and found myself reading it in under an hour.

Poul and Dickson share a talent for dialogue; both witty and wonderful, with descriptions and characters (especially Alexander Jones) that will have people wanting to see what happens next.

PopCultHQ Rating - 5 Stars
PopCultHQ Rating – 5 Stars

It is a book worth picking up and we give it 5 stars.


Written by: Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson

Cover Art by Dominic Harman

Published by Baen Books

How we rate our Books

1 = We finished the book with effort

2 = Readable, but more fluff than substance

3 = Good

4 = Pretty Good and worth passing on to your friends

5 = We couldn’t put the book down

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