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MEN IN BLACK: THE GRAZER CONSPIRACY

The MIB are back to save the world from even more alien scum!

By Dan Cziraky     March 29, 2000

With Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith reportedly looking for $20 million each to do MEN IN BLACK 2, this new series of novels by sci-fi author Dean Wesley Smith (STAR TREK, SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN, ALIENS, PREDATOR, SHADOW WARRIOR, etc) might be as close as we get for a while (despite the MIB2 teaser trailer shown as part of Sony's Show West reel). The first book in the series, last year's THE GREEN SALIVA BLUES, took place six months after the events of MEN IN BLACK. MIB agents Jay (Smith) and Elle (Linda Fiorentino) saved the planet from human-eating aliens that looked exactly like flowering plum trees! The grisly tone wasn't quite true to the film.

THE GRAZER CONSPIRACY takes place a year later, and agents Jay and Elle have really clicked as a team. This time, the threat comes from Grazers: big, stupid, ugly aliens that slip past the MIB security grid to gorge themselves on Earth's greenery, because the chlorophyl is like a drug to them. Someone has secretly invited the Grazers to come to Earth, and this has really cheesed off the thousands of alien races yet to be invited to the small, blue planet. Naturally, they're all on their way here, and will likely destroy us in about four or five days. Zed (Rip Torn) sends Jay and Elle out to find out who sent the message, even though it's highly unlikely it will stop the destruction of Earth. The aliens who have a treaty with us just don't see our planet as worth getting into an intergalactic war over, you see. However, when Jay and Elle uncover a convoluted conspiracyinvolving using the Grazers as a cover for a greedy alien looking to excavate a million-year-old starship containing unlimited weapons potential buried deep in a mountain in Oregonthe MIB are in a race to learn how to use the ship as a last-resort defense, while at the same time keeping its very existence a secret from both humanity and aliens alike.

THE GRAZER CONSPIRACY is a very entertaining read, and manages to capture the flavor of the film better than THE GREEN SALIVA BLUES. Smith does a wonderful job a expressing Jay's hip, smart-ass attitude, and also nails the blustery Zed right on the head. He's pretty much inventing Elle from the ground up, because we only see her as an MIB agent in the final two minutes of the movie. Smith has also created several interesting characters in the MIB crew that frequently assists Jay and Elle. So far, this series is living up to its potential, and hopefully Smith will have more MIB adventures for us in the future.

MEN IN BLACK: THE GRAZER CONSPIRACY, by Dean Wesley Smith. Bantam Books, New York, January 2000, 263 pp., $5.99 (USA).

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