Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy, written by Steven Campbell, is a series of humorous science fiction books that I’ve enjoyed (in Kindle format) for a long time. Up until the recent Audible sale, I’d resisted buying them as an audiobook because I couldn’t quite reconcile the voice of Hank with the character I’d built up in my head over the years.
I’m still having difficulty, but it’d been too long since I visited the world of Hank, Garm, Delovoa, and the rest of the criminals loafing about the space station Belvaille, and the price was right, so I figured I could at least try.
On the space station at the end of the explored galaxy, Hank is a minor celebrity. He’s been around almost as long as the station has existed and is virtually impossible to kill. He’s a class 4 mutant, basically making him bulletproof. He uses this ability to get rivals to sit down and talk because they know they can’t just shoot him.
There’s a lot of story packed into each book in the series, and the first is no exception. Counting the times I’ve read the Kindle versions, this is probably about the sixth or seventh time I’ve read “Screw the Galaxy”, and it always blows me away how much is going on. Plots and layers of subplots all intertwine and culminate in the overall arc for the particular book.
Even as many times as I’ve experienced these stories, there are still parts that make me laugh out loud. Hank is no fool. Even though he seems old and slow to a lot of the characters, his mind is sharper even after being dulled by time than most other people on the station could ever hope to be.
Narration by Liam Owen, as stated earlier, is the main reason I put off getting this series as audiobooks for so long. His voice is growing on me, slowly… though he’s more “Hank Hill” than what I’d consider “Hard Luck Hank” should be. Owen has a weird narration style. The cadence barely changes at all, regardless of who is talking or the action taking place. It’s all said at virtually the same pace, sometimes making it hard to tell the difference between when it’s character narration or speech.
The final product is a little unpolished too. The audio levels are off occasionally, shifting in tone. A few re-takes, errors, and oddly placed pauses were quite noticeable too. Nothing that would make me return the books, but disappointing.
Overall, if you’re a fan of humorous sci-fi, then the Hard Luck Hank books are for you. I know they certainly are for me. Somewhat disappointing final production of audiobook quality, which I’m hoping gets better as the series goes on.