Rob Grant – Incompetence

Incompetence takes place in a near-future Europe, where anti-discrimination laws have been taken to extremes: no one can be denied employment (or discriminated against) on any basis – even simple incompetence. The results include blind airline pilots and a police chief with serious anger management problems (and a loaded gun). The plot is your basic espionage/thriller: the main character, a secret agent, travels through Europe trying to find out who killed his colleague, and incidentally getting framed for various crimes, beaten up, and having his shoes stolen along the way.

The book is of mixed quality. Some of the vignettes and short scenes are excellent (Such as when the main character talks his way onto a plane without a ticket by pretending to have short-term memory problems . He simply replays the same conversation with the stewardess until she gives up and lets him on board.) But in the end, the fast pace becomes frenetic, and all the amusing touches can’t disguise the book’s lack of such essential ingredients such as characterisation, or any complexity of plot.

If you like Grant’s other magnum opus (the TV series Red Dwarf), then you will probably like this book. If not, well, maybe give this one a miss.