Service Goat by Piers Anthony

32501190Score: 4/5

Genre: Science Fiction


Orphaned and blind seven-year-old Callie has a service animal – a goat with extraordinary powers.

Ben Hemoth is a down-on-his luck news reporter facing prison. Needing to save his job and his reputation, he teams up with Venus, a young seductress caught up with a teenage drug gang.

When a mysterious letter arrives detailing a top-secret investigative operation, Ben and Venus think they’ve found their chance for redemption. The mission? Investigate a goat.

In exchange for an extravagant paycheck, Ben and Venus must piece together the wild rumors swirling around Callie, her supernatural goat, and a possible UFO visit.



Admittedly the review score on this one put me off. The idea that an iconic writer whose works have plagued my mind for twenty years might deserve such a marking had me scared. Still, after reading this fiction I can say there a few bluntly discussed dynamics that may be rubbing people the wrong way. In addition, maybe readers expected more. I did.

There are four major players: investigator guy, his gal, a blind girl—and the alien goat. I liked the goat. The goat cheated a lot in this book to make things smooth. For some reasons these scenes—where the goat calmly alters people’s minds and they’re just like ‘oh, your goat is neat’ —made me laugh. Some of the passages from space goat’s point of view are also funny. Here’s a passage…

‘That was evidently a shock to the goats; sheep were a lesser species, an insulting likeness. It seemed that it had not occurred to them that sapience could arise in a creature other than a goat.’

Now that being said, some readers may not like the casual interactions between hulk like investigator guy (Ben) and his gal (Venus)—the majority of their scenes are ‘find information X, have sex, find information Y, have more sex, repeat.’ Don’t be confused—there’s no actual graphic scenes, it’s closer to a fade to black while someone holds up a sign saying “They’re doing it again, please wait.”  I wasn’t bothered.

In addition—and this may be a failing on my part—but the conversations felt almost too clinical. The people are insanely candid when talking. That strikes me as weird— because most people I talk to are confused half the time.  Maybe that’s me projecting. Potential readers may feel the same way—and the best answer is to use the ‘Look Inside’ preview on Amazon then judge for yourself.

Those looking to find earlier Xanth or Incarnations of Immortality style stories should dismiss the idea out of hand. This work stands closer his Mode series. It’s not a novella that will appeal to everyone. Measuring this against nostalgia for Piers Anthony’s earlier works (On a Pale Horse is the reason I read at all) is a mistake. It’s new and an easy little read—plus I really liked the goat.

Available on Amazon

GoodReads Page

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