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Trouble Magnet: A Pip & Flinx Adventure by Alan Dean Foster
Review by Paul Haggerty
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0345485041
Date: 28 November, 2006 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The twelfth volume in the long running Adventures of Pip and Flinx, Trouble Magnet deals with emotional burn-out. For several books now, Flinx has been on a quest to find an ancient weapons system that might be able to defend the galaxy against an oncoming evil. Not that the quest has played much part in the stories, it's more just a background thing used to high-light why Flinx shouldn't go off doing what he ends up doing. In this case, Flinx has nearly decided that humanity can just go hang. Why should he give up everything in his life for a species that doesn't act like it deserves it? To answer this last question, Flinx decides to land on the planet Visaria. The plan is to walk around a bit and let humanity prove its case simply by existing. Of course with Flinx's aversion to concentrations of sentient beings, this has all the hallmarks of a highly biased experiment. Flinx is setting humanity up to lose. 

More Flinx and Pip:
Sliding Scales
Running from the Deity

To make matters worse, humanity doesn't even know its being tested. Enter Subar, a young man who seems to be a classic example of why Flinx is right to just let the galaxy burn. He's young, arrogant, and stupid. He hangs out with a gang of overly confident teens that thinks robbing the rich is a really smart way to get ahead in life. The problem being is that his little gang picks the wrong, extremely rich, target and ends up so far over their heads in trouble that they can't see the bottom no matter how far up they look. And it looks like Flinx is going to end up helping them whether he likes it or not.

Flinx has come a long way from the sneak thief in the back alleys. Perhaps that's why he feels the pull to help Subar. There's just too much similarity to ignore. Of course, now he's the adult, the authority figure, and the role model. If the psychic press of all the people around him weren't giving him migraines, just that thought alone would be more than enough. And despite all his grumbles and complaints, Flinx knows he has no really choice but to follow his conscience.

Trouble Magnet is a fairly typical Flinx book. There's adventure, comedy, hints about things to come, hints about his origins, and a rare appearance by strange allies and enemies from his past.

I've enjoyed all the Flinx books, but I have to confess that I'm really getting a little curious as to when he's ever going to get around to the task he's been ignoring for the last four books. Perhaps in the next volume, Patrimony, due out sometime in 2007.

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