The Road to Mars
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The Road to Mars

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  952 ratings  ·  67 reviews
With Monty Python's Flying Circus, Eric Idle proved he was one of the funniest people in the world. And with The Road to Mars he reaffirms this with a raucously sidesplitting vengence.

Muscroft and Ashby are a comedy team on "The Road to Mars," an interplanetary vaudeville circuit of the future. Accompanied by Carlton, a robot incapable of understanding irony but driven to...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1990)
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Amy
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...more
Kevin
Jul 02, 2007 Kevin added it
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...more
Maria
May 21, 2007 Maria rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf, humor
All I have to say is HEHEHEHEHE.
Bandit
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
Kristi
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
Greg
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
Josh
May 14, 2007 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
Andrew
This is a great sci-fi novel written by Monty Pythons Eric Idle. It's very well written.
Pedro
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
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...more
Isabel
"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
Gráinne
It feels like Idle was trying to write another hitchhiker's<\i> book but it didn't work. It had all the things that should make a great book-explosions, space, romance (went over the top to the point of being a bit smutty?), robots, adventure etc. But it somehow just...wasn't. I'm disappointed because this guy did some great comedy in the past with Monty Python, but it doesn't come through here. Verdict: meh.
Matthew
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
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...more
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
Terrence Weijnschenk
Do not (like I did) expect a laugh on every page. It's not that funny. Really. Read it on your holiday. And leave it on your holiday address. After the first few pages I expected it to get funnier. It didn't. Mildly entertaining though.
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
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...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
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...more
Peter Cawdron
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...more
Tracey
A comedy duo is touring the seamy underside of interstellar vaudeville, while their android attempts to understand the essence of comedy.

While there's some amusing (and true) stuff about the nature of humour [the micropaleontologist that studies the implications of the past 10 min is also amusing:]; the rest of the story is so-so.. IMHO a pale imitation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Cyan Wisp
I expected great things from Eric Idle's book. I know his Python days are behind him, but what was this book? I wanted to like it but I just couldn't. Not sure why. It may have worked as an outrageous laugh-a-line comedy or as a serious science fiction novel. Trouble is, Idle couldn't decide which one to run with so he ended up with a drearily long, semi-funny, semi-serious glorified paperweight. Sorry, Eric, love your work, but I say "neh!" to this offering.

If you want laugh-out-loud British fu...more
Jaroor Modi
Great stuff. This is one of the most wonderful books I've read. I love the way narrators shift from droid to human to droid. The writing is amazing and grapples with the philosophy of comedy, the fatality of fame, multiple ideologies on love and sex and an exciting plot. It innovates on multiple levels and does everything in a mature yet comic manner. It's all done very elegantly and the fictional universe it sets up is like Futurama meets Kubrick's Space Odyssey. All-in-all a great read with a...more
Chris
Being an avid Monty Python fan, picking up this book was a no-brainer. While it definitely had some Python-esque moments, overall I think it achieved more than that. Eric Idle's humor certainly permeates through this book, but the strength of the novel was its different approach to the sci-fi genre. I also liked his theories based around comedy. For someone who's been in the business for as long as he has, it was definitely fun to see his thoughts on the matter.
Theadra
Jul 27, 2008 Theadra rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: abandoned
First - I love Eric Idle. I love Python. I really enjoyed "the Greedy Bastard Tour" book Mr. Idle wrote a few years ago.

I did not like "The Road to Mars." And I should have. It's a great premise, I just found it so pretentious and precious. No Likey.

I'm sure this says something about me, more than it says about him. I owned the book more than 10 years and tried to read it throughout that time. I got through 23 pages this last try.
Debbie
I really must re-read this book at some point, seeing as the last time I read it I was in college (and I've now been working full-time for 8+ years).

Though I can't remember the storyline at all (though after a certain period of time, I can't remember the storyline to any books, which is a good thing when I ever want to re-read them), but I remember laughing, and laughing, and laughing, and not being able to put this down.
Emily
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.
Valissa
"Ask me the secret of comedy."
"What is the secret of--"
"Timing."

"In a perfect universe 'T.S. Eliot' would be 'toilets' backwards. But it is an imperfect universe. It is flawed. It has tears and holes and big gaps of nothing, and a strange fungus, called life, which begins to grow wherever there is water. So sadly it's only 'toilest' backwards which is not quite so much fun."
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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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