We're a few centuries into the future and humans live on different planets in an uneasy cooperation with other space races. And, who woulda thunk it, but it ended up being Cubans who pioneered faster-than-light speed travel in the form of the González drive. When he was young, Dr Jan Amos Sangan Dongo experienced a growth spurt due to weightlessness caused by the drive. Measuring seven foot eleven inches, Sangan decides to specialise in examining extra large animals for fun and profit - the bigger, the better. Eventually, by a quirk of fate linked to his two competing love interests, he is are offered the chance to get up close and personal with laketons: gargantuan amoebas. These are the "super extra grande" of the book; the largest known creatures in the galaxy.
Due to Cubans being the first humans to explore, the other sentient races have chosen "Spanglish" as the intergalactic lingua franca. (You may need a smattering of Castilian Spanish to understand some of Yoss's and translator Frye's clever word play, however, you will be able to follow the conversations and plot lines.)
You know that you're in for a light-hearted and, dangerously teetering on the puerile, ride when the first few pages are spattered with rich descriptions of fecal matter. So don't eat while reading!
Published by Restless Books, this is a handsome book with obligatry "cool points" coming from the quote from Vice. Yes, the story is quite achingly cool in places, and Cuban writer Yoss certainly knows his stuff having trained as a biologist. There are lots of references to classic travelling novels by Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain which is a nice nod. While Sangan is a likeable cad of a protagonist, and the plot line keeps you engaged; it's not that challenging a read and, no spoilers here, you do get the feeling that it's all gonna turn out peachy keen. Still, Super Extra Grande 's a fun romp, I just wish that it didn't suffer from the old "too many knob gags" syndrome.
SUPER EXTRA GRANDE / BY: YOSS - TRANSLATED BY: DAVID FRYE / PUBLISHER: RESTLESS BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: JULY 2016