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The Road to Mars: A Post-Modem Novel

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  1,465 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Space Is a Riot

Brought to us by Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle, The Road to Mars is a sardonic and often hilarious exposé of the entertainment field that comes in the form of a science fiction novel. Filled with sharp-witted parody and an abundance of laughs, The Road to Mars follows the unlikely travails of a comedy duo romping across the
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Hardcover, 309 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Boxtree, Limited (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Amy
Sep 03, 2010 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The robot's name is Carlton. I had to pick it up.

Actual review (9/23/10): Just...no. I was expecting Douglas Adams-style light sci-fi and humor, but Idle's tone is all over the place here. There's a robot writing a dissertation on comedy, and a bunch of sub-Catskills comedians, and Idle's own theories about comedy (which seem borrowed and not terribly insightful), and Idle's theories about women (which are kind of appalling*), but then also murders, conspiracies, and dog defenestration. And tha
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Kevin
Jun 29, 2007 Kevin added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
Shelves: avoidthis
Love Monty Python? Searching for a new outlet of hilarity and amusement? Conveniently forgetting that Eric Idle’s urine drinking skit was so bad even John Cleese canned it? The Road to Mars heartily reminds you that even the greatest of comedians can write absolute trash.

This book has got to be one of the worst books ever printed. Touted as a comedy, the book slowly but surely develops into a snowball of murder, death and mayhem.

Fun right? No, not in the least. Everything that could go wrong doe
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Bandit
May 13, 2012 Bandit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A study in and of comedy disguised as a very entertaining and funny space romp. This book is about two comedians, their intrepid robot and a bunch of wacky and fun characters they encounter. I'm surprised Eric Idle doesn't write more books, since he really has a knack for it. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, Carlton being my favorite character...an inspriringly original robot that chose to defy DNAcism (just one of the clever terms the book offers). Fast paced funny light read and quite possibly ...more
Greg
Jun 03, 2011 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As one might expect, Idle's discussion of comedy is significantly better than the sci-fi noir humor novel in which he packages it. Good stuff for anyone who thinks deeply about comedy, though it is also worth noting how quickly fake sci-fi (that is, the genre used as a pastiche rather than a vessel for serious thought and world crafting) can seem dated
Maria
May 21, 2007 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, humor
All I have to say is HEHEHEHEHE.
Bob Rust
Apr 27, 2017 Bob Rust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Road to Mars: A Post-Modern Novel (1999) featuring an Android scholar in the employ of two twenty-second century comedians working the interplanetary vaudeville circuit known as the Road to Mars. The android's attempts to write a thesis on comedy which its literal mind cannot comprehend, generates the humor; the plot itself spirals into a spoof on terrorism.
Kevin
Crosby and Hope would be proud. Mr. Idle wrote an entertaining science fiction comedy story. nothing phenomenal, mind you, but still it was a fun read with some intrigue, humor, satire, action, and even romance (infused with a little hot sex).

the premise itself is interesting. a scholar from the far future is telling about something he's uncovered from his past which is still our future. he tells the story of the person or *ahem* "tin man" who created the work he's discovered and in so doing tel
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Kristi
Jun 01, 2009 Kristi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Road to Mars was truly funny -- well written with an extremely clever premise. There were even occasional moments of absolute brilliance, and I laughed out loud many times. However, what sunk this book were the two extremely graphic sex scenes. We're talking blush-and-cringe-and-look-away-in-embarrassment graphic. Not sexy. Not funny. They didn't in any way enhance the book, and I found it disappointing that Idle engaged in such trashy, self-indulgent writing. It's too bad, because the book ...more
Alexandra
Naja - jemand der sehr gute Sketche schreibt, dessen Talent ist dadurch noch nicht zwangsläufig dazu befähigt, einen ganzen komischen Roman zu tragen.

Die Reise zum Mars ist eine sehr simple Abenteuer SF-Story gespickt mit ein paar wenigen wirklich guten Ideen wie z.B. ein Android, der eine Dissertation über den menschlichen Humor verfasst, oder der Abschleppdienst für Menschen, die ihre Kunden aus jeder Situation herausholen und am Bestimmungsort abgeben (funktioniert vor allem gut bei Betrunke
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Emily
Jul 27, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's not a *bad* book and maybe I should give it 3 stars instead of 2, except I had much higher hopes given the author. There are definitely some funny parts, and there are also interesting serious parts, but the book kind of felt as if the author didn't know if he was writing comedy or serious science fiction. It's bits of many things, and no one thing consistently, and therefore ultimately left me mostly unsatisfied on all counts.
Josh
May 14, 2007 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Comedy Lovers
Shelves: booksread
Great book! Bought it without it's cover jacket at Goodwill guessing it was a satirical look at the politics of Mars Exploration. Ended up loving it for an entirely different reason. This book does it's best to define comedy and what makes us laugh, while at the same time telling a pillow-hugging story about a futuristic space adventure.
Shayna L
Nov 06, 2007 Shayna L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is just a funny book. Anyone who likes that dry Brit homour should pick it up.
Plus Eric Idle signed my copy, so it's even better.
Hans
Aug 12, 2016 Hans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Lightweight, but very enjoyable.
Andrew
Jun 26, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great sci-fi novel written by Monty Pythons Eric Idle. It's very well written.
Pedro
Nov 16, 2008 Pedro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carlton é um andróide, modelo Bowie 4.5, que vive no futuro e que, talvez por trabalhar para dois comediantes, elegeu como objectivo da sua vida a escrita de um tratado sobre a comédia, senão mesmo sobre o riso, qual Henry Bergson, cujo livro nunca li mas cujo fantasma me assombrou, ano após ano nos escaparates da feira do livro, naquele sítio dos livros baratos que te sentes sempre tentado a comprar para depois nunca mais leres. Mas não é uma imitação daquela máquina andrógina, robot que parodi ...more
Leslie King
Enjoyed reading it, but not my favorite. Science fiction + action + crime + romance = a little much. Carlton the tin man was engaging and my favorite character
Mike
Feb 25, 2017 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book had potential. Some parts kept you wanting more but there was less than good cohesion to the story, which left me more excited to just finish it rather then want to finish it!
Chris
Sep 22, 2014 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Musings on comedy wrapped up in a tangled plot concerning two comedians, their android, some flat female characters, spaceships, and political extremists. All in all, mostly inoffensive and forgettable. Mr. Idle, I expected better from you. You get 1.5 stars because I didn't hate it and the plot speeds up at the end. I have the sneaking suspicion you just wanted to provide your personal insights about comedy and humor but figured you needed to pad it out with a quick-paced scifi fiction (plus to ...more
James Perkins
I never knew that Monty Python member Eric Idle wrote novels, and indeed, he's only done two. This is the second one, and I picked it up at the council library solely because his name was on the cover. He's a charismatic, talented performer, and I've always admired his work since I first noticed the Pythons in my early adolescence, so I thought I'd give it a go. Unfortunately, he's no novelist. The action in the plot is a mess, he's not good at description, he can't create tension, there's some ...more
Erik
Oct 02, 2016 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of a 3.5 than a 4, but theres enough creativity here to warrant the bump up. I can see why a lot of readers might hate on this book - they expect the irreverence , quirkiness, and weirdness of Douglas Adams (and not actual comedy), and something to do with mars.

This book has very little to with Mars. The book has a lot to do with being a tribute to comedy in a sci-fi setting. The title itself is an homage to the long running "Road to..." series. The banter of Alex and Lewis echoes great com
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Isabel (kittiwake)
Dec 08, 2011 Isabel (kittiwake) rated it really liked it
"The are two types of comedian," states Carlton in the preface to his dissertation, "both deriving from the circus., which I shall call the White Face and the Red Nose. Almost all comedians fall into one or the other of these two simple archetypes. In the circus, the White Face is the controlling clown with the deathly pale masklike face who never takes a pie; the Red Nose is the subversive clown with the yellow and red makeup who takes all the pies and the pratfalls and the buckets of water and ...more
Vladimir
Feb 13, 2017 Vladimir rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is somewhat of Eric's theory of comedy. There are some cool bits, there are some funny bits, but overall I hoped for more.
Grayson Queen
I really, really wanted to like this book. But in the end it fell flat.

It felt like the point of the book was less about the plot or the characters and more about being a delivery service for one-liners and zingers (not those awesome frosted mini-cakes).

There were two main characters who were basically the same person except that if you took one of them away they wouldn't have been able to make as many witticisms. The other characters we shallow stereotypes driving my simplistic desires.

As for t
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Matthew
Jan 02, 2012 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book because it was fun and also a good science fiction novel. Most sci-fi novels seem to use the framework to examine some deep philosophical subject like humanity or love or freedom. This is the first one that I've read that used that framework to examine humor. There are a lot of interesting insights from someone who can legitimately be called an expert on the subject, which is probably more than most sci-fi authors can say. This book unraveled at the end though. The consp ...more
Rex Libris
Jul 31, 2015 Rex Libris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not want to give away the plot, so I will just quickly lay out two pieces of groundwork. The story is centered around two comedians (an Abbott and Costello kind of comedy team) who find themselves in the middle of terrorist plot. The comedians have a robot assistant who is an android made to look like David Bowie. All through the fruition of the terrorist plot Carleton the android is developing his ultimate theory of comedy.

I decided to read this book based on its being written Monty Python
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The other John
Ah, how can I do a capsule review of this book? On the surface, it's the story about two comedians, Muscroft and Ashby, and their robot, Carlton. The team is playing the Circuit--the dozens of clubs in amongst the asteroids, satellites and mining stations between Mars and Saturn. They're looking to make it to the big time, Mars, and finally a lead opens up. Unfortunately, the road to Mars is complicated by terrorists, a disaster and the biggest diva of the solar system. The tale is written (quit ...more
bigmuzz
i bought this book years ago when i saw it on sale at a reject type shop. seeing it was written by eric idle i just had to purchase it. over they years i have tried a couple of times to get through it, but have always stopped halfway through the fault of other distractions. so i forced myself to finally finish it this time, and discovered it is a pretty interesting book, and while the main plot of the sci-fi future of robots, spaceships, travelling comedians and terrorist plots was fun enough, i ...more
Charley Greiner
Sure the pacing is uneven and some of the jokes border on the corny, but it is its frequent touches of intergalactic existentialism that makes The Road to Mars worth it...cover to cover: "Is there enough dark matter so that the gnawing effect of gravity will eventually pull the Universe backwards, or is there enough laughing matter for levity to escape the restraining pull of gravity and permit the Universe to go on expanding forever. Take your pick. The optimistic, ever-expanding Universe, or t ...more
Marsha
Evidently, show business will be no easier in the future than it is now. As a comedy duo wends its way around the intergalactic circuit, they must deal with a too-cute android, conspiracies and disintegrating planets all in pursuit of that terminal disease, fame. All the while, a robot called Carlton tries to solve the mystery that is life, the universe and—no, wait, that’s another author. Carlton just wants to understand what comedy is. Life may be the simpler puzzle…

Proving as adept a comic w
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Peter Cawdron
Jan 09, 2012 Peter Cawdron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh... I seem to be rating a lot of books five stars, but this one really deserves it, especially as it is underrated by so many others.

If you like Monty Python, or if you've ever watched an episode of Red Dwarf, then you'll be in stitches of laughter with this book. It doesn't poll that well on the Amazon reviews, but I think it's because the dry British humour doesn't come across as well on the printed page. If you can vocalise the cast of Monty Python in your head or Lister, Rimmer and Cryton
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Eric Idle is an English comedian, actor, author and composer of comedic songs. He wrote and performed as a member of the internationally renowned British comedy group Monty Python.
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