Kren of the Mitchegai is my favorite book of all time, and I can say that without a sliver of a doubt. It’s actually the second book in a series started by Leo Frankowski, with the first being A Boy and His Tank (that one is also great and I recommend it, but it’s nowhere near as enjoyable as Kren, and you don’t need to read the first to get the second).
Kren of the Mitchegai is a historical account of the most powerful of the Mitchegai, an alien race with which humanity is preparing to make war. The story moves through two perspectives, one being the protagonist from the previous novel, and the far more entertaining one being the most powerful of the Mitchegai, Kren.
The Mitchegai’s biology is probably my favorite in any sci-fi I’ve encountered. The Mitchegai know only two species: theirselves and a plant their children feed off of. As a result, the only food source for adult Mitchegai is their own children. On top of their purely cannibalistic diet, the Mitchegai are capable of incorporating one another’s brains by eating them raw. Through this, adult Mitchegai can attain a form of immortality, but I’ll let Leo say more on that point.
Kren, at its heart, is a hilarious take on capitalism that begs the question: What if an inherently evil predator was the most successful entrepreneur ever? (The Mitchegai have no morals, which only makes this premise more entertaining.)
From a technical standpoint, this book doesn’t really jump out. The writing style is simple and pretty straight forward – Frankowski doesn’t waste time with flowery language. On top of that, the dialogue at times feels unnatural, and oddly enough, especially so for the humans. But the humans aren’t the draw of Kren. I’ve never seen such an unsympathetic protagonist whose business the reader could be this invested in. Heh.
I cannot recommend Kren of the Mitchegai more highly. But if you love Kren as much as I do, and you will, then I have sad news: Frankowski passed away before he could write the sequel. It is my dream to someday obtain the rights to this story once I’ve made a name for myself and finish Frankowski’s masterpiece. I’m hopeful I could even work with Dave Grossman, who cowrote Kren, on that project. Till then, stay tuned.