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It has that same kind of inherent dagginess that makes it endearing and 80s-feeling, full of witty references to contemporary culture including the one joke about the Welsh language that they just can't resist. It also contains recognisable spoofs of other books and movies, such as the android bounty hunter and assassin, Rick Dreckitt who's sent after Polly and is a wonderful piss-take of Rick Deckard from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I felt quite at home reading this because of the humour and the contemporary references. It does launch straight into the story and characters and you never really get to know them beyond the scope of the plot. Who is Isambard Smith? What is his background? We don't really learn much about him aside from his personal characteristics and what happens to him here.

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Polly Carveth has only been "alive" for six months and we know exactly what her brief history is. Gerald the hamster is never explained, he simply lives in a cage on the floor of the control room and is mentioned about four times. How Suruk and Smith became friends isn't explained either - and I'm sure that must be an interesting story. So it does leave you wondering.

There are a few minor plot holes, mostly because a joke won over a detail that would have filled the hole but spoiled the joke. Or they were just plot holes. For a quick, funny read that could be an episode of Red Dwarf , this is a goodie. For something more in-depth and detailed, look elsewhere. Jan 27, T. James rated it really liked it. Where do you begin to review a book like this? It's so much more than it appears! On the most basic level it is a rip-roaring Science Fiction adventure that set a small crew on a rather small space ship against invading alien armies and evil human factions.

But as I say that is the most basic level. Not that I am overly familiar with the genre, but I would add the term steampunk to the mix. The descriptions of the workings of the spaceship give me that old world feel, and the whole thing, despite Where do you begin to review a book like this? The descriptions of the workings of the spaceship give me that old world feel, and the whole thing, despite being set in the 26th Century seems to have an early Victorian feel. But perhaps the most important thing, the most obvious thing about Space Captain Smith is that it is funny. This is a book that knows what it wants to do and does not hold back.

It hits you around the jowls with a laughing stick and does not let up until you finish. It's not something you read for a few pages and wait for the next laugh to come, the next laugh is backing into the one before, causing a pile-up of humour that is an unexpected delight. And it is not just one type of humour, I cannot even quantify the different types used, but it ranges from subtle sly comments that make you nod knowingly, a subtle wink, followed by a comment that can only lead to a belly laugh.


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There are smutty references, innuendos, in your face, subtle, satire, pastiche - there is a running plot lifted from Blade Runner that could be called a highlight of the book, only the whole novel is a highlight. This future where Earth has spread into space, diversified into different sub-types of humanity is reminiscent of Gordon R Dickson's Dorsai novels; but taken in different directions.

Whatever wars and events have happened that have caused this seem to have either reset the British back to the time of Empire, or an alternative reality where it never fell. Whatever it might be it is a minefield for nonstop laughs. And don't even get me started on the Aliens the Ghast - just another brilliant creation that works In with all this there is some nice observations too.

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Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost

There is a moment when aliens we see as barbaric discuss humanity and we see things from the opposite angle. It is only a line or two but an eye opener. I could go on and on about how entertaining Frost's debut is, but the fact that I read it in under a week should be all you need to know - especially when you study my recent reading pace. Go on, read it. If you need a distraction, if you want a laugh, this one should do it for you.

Oct 09, Alan rated it liked it Recommends it for: Fans with relaxed standards. What ho, mates!

All reviews for: Chronicles of Isambard Smith

While it's uneven in tone and sometimes seems to be trying rather too hard, I ended up liking this rollicking space adventure starring the bold, if inept, Isambard Smith; his bloodthirsty boon companion Suruk; the ethereal Rhianna Mitchell; and double entendre -spewing ace pilot Polly Carveth see what I did there? It's a distorted snapshot of 19th-Century British sea power, tran What ho, mates! It's a distorted snapshot of 19th-Century British sea power, translated wholesale into a rather crowded galaxy.

There's no explanation within the text, of course, for just how ol' Blighty ended up as Earth's imperialistic, gun-toting ambassadors to the unfriendly stars; you just have to roll with it. And it does roll on. The cover blurb slyly references Douglas Adams , of course, but that's not at all the vibe I got from this one I'd compare it instead to the works of Tom Holt or A. Bertram Chandler —or, better still, to Keith Laumer , whose Retief stories shot similar barbs at bureaucracy and gunboat diplomacy and whose aliens here, the antlike Ghasts were similarly risible.

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From the steampunk trappings of the engine room in the John Pym , Smith's ramshackle command, to the psychotic neo-Calvinist ramblings of the New Eden officer John Gilead, to the tofu-gnawing utopians of New Francisco, Toby Frost spares no target in his quest for the absurd. I also had fun picking out the thinly-veiled references to films like The Matrix and Star Wars , and other trappings of pop culture never mentioned by name but usually mocked in identifiable form.

As the plot lurches from implausible to preposterous, things actually get funnier. I'd have to second Amanda's recommendation on this one Nov 19, Bryan rated it liked it Shelves: science-fiction , funny.


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A rollicking adventure set in a future British space Empire. It has a flavor very similar to A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Here we see Captain Isambard Smith, Suave, cultured ladies man, as he tries to romance a woman with dinner and music: "'I really appreciate this' Rhianna said, before Smith brought the food to the table. What are these pink floating things?

All completely without meat. You see, what you've got floating there is A rollicking adventure set in a future British space Empire.

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You see, what you've got floating there is synthetic synthetic ham. We usually get given synthetic ham to eat, which contains ham extract and we spacefarers shortened to Sham. But this is synthetic Sham, which doesn't even contain any synthetic ham and which the company used to call Sham Light but don't any more because we shortened it to Shite.

It's not really shite, actually,' he added, feeling that this explanation had ended on a weak note. Wasn't he from Vienna? He was English, Mozart. English to the core. Take "Piano Concerto 21", for instance. Or "The Requiem". He wouldn't have given them English names if he wasn't from England. It was written for a German, you see.

For Elise. May 01, Seizure Romero rated it liked it Shelves: sf-fantasy , library. The characters here are Suruk, a M'Lak, described as "about six foot eight with a face like a cross between a boar and an upturned crab" basically, the badass from the 'Predator' movies ; and Rhianna, a human hippie-chick: For no obvious reason, Suruk had pushed almost all of a beer bottle into his mouth. A wise warrior once told me: 'Respect your brother M'Lak, no matter what shade of greenish-grey h The characters here are Suruk, a M'Lak, described as "about six foot eight with a face like a cross between a boar and an upturned crab" basically, the badass from the 'Predator' movies ; and Rhianna, a human hippie-chick: For no obvious reason, Suruk had pushed almost all of a beer bottle into his mouth.

A wise warrior once told me: 'Respect your brother M'Lak, no matter what shade of greenish-grey he may be'" "Those are beautiful words, Suruk," Rhianna said. And cut off their ridiculous little heads. And laugh. In their blood. But if you look within, deep inside a person, human beings are all alike. Red and squelchy. Apr 30, Paul rated it it was amazing.