Lab Rats in Space, by Bruno Bouchet

‘Argh!’ he screamed as he saw a third hand appearing from behind his head. He stared at the hand and gently touched the fingers. He could feel the touch. He turned around as far as he could and saw an arm reaching from over his back. It was coming out of his body, from his own back, just above his bum. ‘No!’ he cried in horror at his third arm. ‘What have they done to me?’

Zed wakes to find he is in a cage in a laboratory. He has no memory of home or family, no memories at all. He, like many others, has been experimented on by the cruel and inventive Dr Xanax and his off-sider, Bumface. Zed has a third arm, Jay’s sneezes are diabolical, XL is a genius (if only he could talk), Dee has a hammer for a hand. Zed hatches a plan to escape, using Bumface’s swipe card. Zed and his new friends discover that escaping from their cages is just the beginning. They hitch a ride on a container transport spaceship to escape Xanax and begin a journey to discover how they came to be experiments for this madman.

Lab Rats in Space is a wild romp through outer space. Zed, although stunned to find he is sporting an extra arm, rallies quickly and begins to marshal his fellow lab rats. He’s impetuous and fallible, but rouses the others to action. Each of them has a special skill, some only partly realised in this novel. None know just what this skill is, or what it is for. With a central character who has snot powerful enough to destroy space invaders and another with tools for hands, there are laughs aplenty. The pace is fast and furious, sure to engage upper primary boys in particular. I suspect we’ve not seen the last of Zed and his mates.

Lab Rats in Space, by Bruno Bouchet
ABC Books 2007
ISBN: 9780733319655