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Fools Errant

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  132 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In the Penultimate Age of the Archonate, callow young fop Filidor Vesh is perfectly content to spend his days in the pursuit of shallow amusements, until he is summoned by a wizened old dwarf in need of a voluntary good deed -- deliver a parcel to his uncle, the all-powerful and original 98th Archon, sole ruler of the world. So begins Filidor's reluctant odyssey through pe ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Aspect
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Syntactical Disruptorize
Mar 16, 2014 Syntactical Disruptorize rated it it was amazing
This is a first-rate Dying Earth novel which is never explicitly named as such. The author honors Jack Vance's world and legacy while never sinking to the level of pastiche. The story's structure is pure Vance, an epic journey across a many-colored world. His characters are vibrant, diverting, and charming in their rascality. The societies the protagonist encounters exhibit a Vancian variety, each acting according to its strictures yet evolving and thriving. I enjoyed it so thoroughly that those ...more
Sep 10, 2011 Richard rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
This is basically popcorn for the mind, but I happen to like popcorn once in a while.
Kenny V
Jul 07, 2016 Kenny V rated it liked it
I liked this well enough but not as much as Hughes' Raffalon series in F&SF. It was a fairly typical "immature youth grows up throughout an adventure" with a touch (i felt) of a Gulliver's Travels type of vibe. From the way it is written I think an alternate title could be "An Idiot Abroad" though that is already taken and actually quite inaccurate. While the main character, Filidor Vesh, is a bit insufferable at times the people living in these lands are more so. The societies are egocentri ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story! Very fun to read, and also great for building your vocabulary. I normally consider myself to have a great vocabulary, but I had to look up words like "quotidian" and "tonsorial".
Aaron Singleton
Feb 20, 2016 Aaron Singleton rated it really liked it
A fun and humorous picaresque tale set on Old Earth concerning a spoiled young man and his older and no-nonsense travelling companion. Each chapter is headed by a story fragment which relates a tale set in Old Earth's history and is great fun in itself. Each chapter is also a complete story in itself, while also driving the whole tale forward.

As the two main characters travel Old Earth, we are introduced to many strange and wonderous towns, cities and especially societies, and the pair never fa
Apr 14, 2016 Mark rated it it was ok
Matthew Hughes is genuinely funny at times, but I found this story painfully repetitive as its hero visits (and helps cure) a variety of dysfunctional societies in a distant future earth. As magic was introduced into the story there were few boundaries on what could happen (the proverbial "tennis without a net") - so I felt little emotional involvement.
Dec 18, 2010 Boone rated it really liked it
Shelves: picaresque
Excellent. Everyone says Hughes is very Vancian, and it's true, but he's different, too. The biggest difference is that the characters are a little more fleshed out.

Really enjoyed the story. It does follow the common "quest" format in fantasy but still offers lots of humor and randomness with all the wit and sarcasm you'd expect in a world built on The Dying Earth.

Highly recommended for Jack Vance fans. I'm now a Matthew Hughes fan and plan on reading all of his works.
James Eckman
Dec 14, 2014 James Eckman rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Vance fans
Shelves: sf
Before reading this book you should read Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" or "Cugel's Saga". If you take my advice and you don't like these, skip the rest of the review, this book is not for you and you have at least read a classic. On the other hand, if you like your books to ooze purple when you squeeze them, read this book! Matthew Hughes started out as a writer for politicians and CEOs and nobody except Vance empurples the page better.
Jun 24, 2013 Kellyann rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Sean Russell wrote, of this book, "Think Gulliver's Travels written by P. G. Wodehouse," and that is the perfect description. The allegorical aspects annoyed me at first, but I was won over in the end by the sheer weirdness and the Bertie Wooster-like nature of the protagonist.
Jenson Merriam
Mar 26, 2011 Jenson Merriam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The best SF&F book I have ever read this far. Chock full of exciting adventure, moral lessons, and humorous dialog, Matthew Hughes presents a wonderful book. Although, this book is one that needs to be sold with a dictionary because of its use of highly intellectual words.
Aug 24, 2013 Shane rated it really liked it
I haven't read Jack Vance so I can't compare Hughes works to his. I can say this was a really fun read. The language and color did an excellent job of painting a world gone just a little wrong. I am looking forward to reading more.
Dani Byrne
amusing an even a bit edifying, not as predictable as it might at first lead you to believe and yet comfortably familiar.
Vincent Vale
May 20, 2013 Vincent Vale rated it it was amazing
I love Matthew's prose! Whimsical and fun. Keep up the good work.
Jan 26, 2008 Esther_a rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Think Jack Vance meets P.G. Wodehouse. It's a lot of fun.
Rif Saurous
Jan 25, 2015 Rif Saurous rated it really liked it
Perfectly delightful Vancian-style work.
Oct 11, 2012 Dawn rated it really liked it
Read for Locus, #484 May 2001,
Jesper Lie
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Born in Liverpool, his family moved to Canada when he was five years old. Married since late 1960s, he has three grown sons. He is currently relocated to Britain. He is a former director of the Federation of British Columbia Writers.

A university drop-out from a working poor background, he worked in a factory that made school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, was night janitor in a GM dealersh
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“What are you about?" said the vehicle as a panel popped open to reveal delicate components. "I am not accustomed to such usage."

The little man said nothing, but began to rearrange connections and sever some linkages within the autocab's mechanism. The vehicle lurched and then spiraled down to a meadow bordered by trees.

"I will be compelled to summon assist-" said the car, then broke off as Gaskarth made a final adjustment. The autocab dropped the remaining few inches to the grass, and the dwarf twisted the emergency release handle to open the doors. Filidor followed him out of the autocab.

"Who am I?" inquired the car. "Have I a function?"

"Perhaps you are a type of bird," said Gaskarth. "If so, it is your function to fly."

The autocab digested this information briefly, then lifted slightly. "Experimentation tends to support the hypothesis," it said, and flew in widening circles out of their ken.”
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