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Expecting Someone Taller
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Expecting Someone Taller

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  2,413 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Malcolm Fisher inherits a magic ring from a dying badger and becomes the much-disputed Ruler of the World. Everyone wants the ring--despite the fearsome curse upon it. And Malcolm is about to learn that some are born to greatness, and some are, well, badgered into it.
Paperback, 231 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by Ace (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emma Sea
Nostalgia rating. I think this was the book of 1988, for me.
Gerry
My first exposure to the literary genius teetering on madness that is the mind of Tom Holt. I got this from the library way back around the late '80s, not knowing quite what to expect and was more than pleasantly surprised by it.

It tells of Malcolm Fisher; just an ordinary guy trying to get home one night when he drives over a badger. So far, so ordinary. But the badger turns out to be nothing more than a Norse giant in disguise and before he realises what is happening, Malcolm becomes embroiled...more
Chuck
Badgers are not always what they appear to be. If you tried reading Lord of the Rings and felt guilty because you couldn't get through it, read this hilarious retelling of the real Ring Cycle , the one Wagner made so famous a long, long time before Tolkein ever picked up pen and paper.
Steve Mitchell
Expecting Someone Taller is based around Wagner’s Ring Cycle; the first thing to realise is that it is a story based upon real events and genuine characters. The hero - Malcolm Fisher - finds that he has inherited the mantel of Siegfried, that is the shape-shifting and teleporting Tarnhelm plus the riches-inducing (but ultimately cursed) Nibelung’s Ring after he runs over a badger. Can a man known affectionately by his family as ‘Only Malcolm’ come to terms with his new found position as the rul...more
Antonis
This book was a miss with me. Why? Here are the reasons I personally disliked the book and felt it was rather a waste of my time.
- Plot or rather the lack of it. In all honesty, I still don't get what this book is all about or why one is expected to read it. There's is no real plot here, nothing to make the reader feel anticipation and want to keep turning the pages. I took forever to read this one and the main reason is this.
- Characters. Other than the main guy, all the other characters are ju...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in April 1999.

The first of Holt's comic fantasy novels, Expecting Someone Taller is based around the ideas of Wagner's Ring operas. The main character, Malcolm Fisher, is basically a failure, someone that has spent his whole life being compared unfavourably with his elder sister. Then, one night, he accidentally runs over a badger on a country road in Devon; going to see if he can do anything, he is rather surprised to hear the badger speak. It turns out to b...more
Lydia Shellenbarger
When the legendary Ring of the Niberlings becomes the possesion of a mild-mannered, rather forgetable, not very driven, almost middle-aged Englishman, the pantheon knows something must be done to stop the inevitable madness. When the world starts going through an unparalleled time of peace and prosperity, Woten and the rest know their worst fears are being realized and decide to stop at nothing to fix this horror.

Humorously sarcastic view of "If the meek did inherit the earth"; reminded me stro

...more
Michael Donoghue
I actually found a copy of this book at The Book Thing in Baltimore. The only way to get it now is in one of his Omnibuses. I loved the first third of the book. Made me actually laugh out loud in real life a couple of times. The three star rating is only because the remainder of the book was adequate. This was his first novel (I think) so a lot was soul searching and development on his part. But it is still really good and a very quick read.
Luke Talbot
This is funny, not just because Holt is a funny guy, but also because it does that classic cheesy trick of delivering the book title as a line in the book (a bit like in the movie, 'Hot Tub Time Machine').

Once the 'expecting someone taller' gag is out of the way, this is classic Holt. Not quite as fantastical as Pratchett, not quite a obscenely funny as Sharpe, but just nice and comfortable there in the middle.
James Titterton
'Expecting Someone Taller' is a book with a great premise that it never really lives up to.

Malcolm Fisher, a pathetic young Englishman, accidentally kills the last holder of the Ring of the Nieblungs and finds himself unwillingly responsible for the well being of the entire world. A variety of supernatural beings then descend on him to try and claim the Ring for themselves.

Placing the ridiculous characters from Wagner's Ring Cycle in the sleepy English countryside should be a riotously surreal...more
Kathleen
"You had me at 'talking badger' ".
Really, fantastical storytelling interwoven with visits by two ravens of the Heckle and Jeckle ilk, the Valkyries and lots of British humour makes me want to look for more of Tom Holt's books.
Jasmiina F
Not nearly as funny as I thought this would be and I was surprisingly annoyed with Malcolm most of the time. I feel like there was something lacking with the characters and sometimes things happened a bit too easily.
John
Tom Holt is an English author and graduate of Oxford.
I found him by good fortune while inspecting the dusty portions of a used book store, and have been a fan ever since.
Though he has written "serious" literature, I am only familiar with his works that parody mythic or historic tales. Holt writes his humour with spot on timing and lays the laughs out on many levels.
His stuff is treasure, a bit of Tom Robbins & Vonnegut with a nod to Havard's Lampoon.
Very few books can make me laugh out loud,...more
Karen
Fans of Douglas Adams should check this one out.
Scott Johnson
Like a British Tom Robbins, in all the right ways.
Max
I was not expecting anybody taller or any shape whatsoever but I am very glad I stumbled on Tom Holt books. This one, my first, was hilarious.
Emma
It's another British satire, but how could I not love a book that made that one time I read the libretto of the Ring Cycle NOT a totally useless waste of time? (I only read that one so I could understand what was going on in those Rackham illustrations. I was a weird kid. And a weird college student.)

Anyway, it's funny, and it falls a little outside of the more formulaic Tom Holt novels. The other Holt readers I know like his office novels better, but this one remains my favorite. And not just...more
Janine Southard
When people tried to tell me how awesome Terry Pratchett was, I expected his works to all be Expecting Someone Taller. A long Monty Python sketch with Norse mythology -- what more could a person ask for? It's a bit British (which I didn't realize back when I read it a million times a few decades back) and all wackiness. Our hero is such an Everyman that it's hard to identify with him, but that's okay. You wouldn't want to wear the ring that rules world anyway, would you? Score: Yay!
Victoria Pond
When people tried to tell me how awesome Terry Pratchett was, I expected his works to all be Expecting Someone Taller. A long Monty Python sketch with Norse mythology -- what more could a person ask for? It's a bit British (which I didn't realize back when I read it a million times a few decades back) and all wackiness. Our hero is such an Everyman that it's hard to identify with him, but that's okay. You wouldn't want to wear the ring that rules world anyway, would you? Score: Yay!
Katrina
DNF. Not rated.
Pewterbreath
A Hitchhiker's Guide for the Nordic myths, this book is pretty funny, though I must say the Nordic Gods with their super machismo almost make fun of themselves nonwithstanding. I think I would have liked it even more if I had really known the ring cycle, because Holt is the sort of writer who would cleverly include a bunch of Easter Eggs and callouts. The story itself is pretty lightweight--a nice little winter read.
Isabel
This was Tom Holt's first foray into mythological fantasy, and concerns the fate of the Ring of the Nibelungs in the present day. When he runs over its previous owner, an ice-giant masquerading as a badger, it falls into the hands of Malcolm Fisher, a trainee auctioneer in Somerset. Wotan, Alberich and the Rhinemaidens are all keen to get their hands on it, but Malcolm turns out to be a very suitable ring-bearer.
Christiane
One of my favorite Tom Holt books. A satire of the Ring of the Nibelungen, the story involves Malcolm Fisher, a hapless auction clerk in England, who runs over a badger one night. The badger turns out to be the giant Ingolf, brother of Fafnir, and Fisher becomes the new owner of the Ring and thereby, ruler of the world, a job for which he appears to be remarkably under-qualified.
Janet
The author uses the myths of gods and goddesses in this book and gives them a side of humanity we don't expect them to have. I found this book easy to read and it encourages you to carry on reading to find out what eventually happens to each character, and what decisions are made. To see if they were the same as what I tried to anticipate would happen. On the whole a good read.
Lara
I was excited about starting this book, because it had every element in a satire that I usually love, but it completely failed to click for me. I'm not sure why. After a strong start, this was a tedious read, despite some funny moments.

I will give Tom Holt at least one more chance, though, because I want to like his writing. He's definitely worth another try.
Lisa
Malcolm Fisher was driving one day, hit an animal in the road, and was suddenly involved in a struggle for control of the world with a bunch of Norse gods. With the future of the world at stake, Malcolm struggles with his own personal insecurities and romantic interests, rather than the reality of the situation. I think a teenage boy would love this book.
John
I can't imagine someone who is unfamiliar with the Ring cycle getting much out of this. But if you are, this is good fun. Lots of quality time spent with Erda, Flosshilde, Alberich et al. in a modern setting. The scene at the beginning where the Tarnhelm's new owner is testing it out is quite entertaining. And, oh, the unlucky badger...
Amanda
If you ever run over a badger with your car and he offers you a magical talisman that will give you everything you (thought you) ever wanted, this is pretty much what it will be like. Only not as funny. Because Tom Holt, he writes some savagely funny books. Love you Tom!
Dark-Draco
Fantastic - I really enjoyed this book. I love all the Norse mythology and the fact that Holt turns it all on it's head just makes it better. A great way to spend a few dinner times, although when I'm giggling out loud my work colleagues think I've gone crazy!!
Quinten
This was a fun, light read that explored Wagner's Ring Cycle in "modern" (to when the book was written in the 1980s) times.

The author has a distinctive voice for parody that is similar to Terry Pratchett's, although slightly less absurdist.
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Tom Holt (Thomas Charles Louis Holt; born September 13, 1961) is a British novelist.
He was born in London, the son of novelist Hazel Holt, and was educated at Westminster School, Wadham College, Oxford, and The College of Law, London.
Holt's works include mythopoeic novels which parody or take as their theme various aspects of mythology, history or literature and develop them in new and often humor...more
More about Tom Holt...
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“Niceness, he realised, was not enough, and Love was only part of the rest. You had to have laughter, too. Laughter would make everything come out right in the end, or if it didn’t nobody would notice.” 1 likes
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