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Smallworld

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  371 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A strangely captivating novel from Hugo-nominated author Dominic Green. Mount Ararat, a world the size of an asteroid yet having Earth-standard gravity, plays host to an eccentric farming community protected by the Devil, a mechanical killing machine, from such passers-by as Mr von Trapp (an escapee from a penal colony), the Made (manufactured humans being hunted by the St ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Fingerpress
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Series that should continue
58th out of 91 books — 67 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 782)
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Claudia
I absolutely loved this crazy, sci-fi tale. With very little (was there any?) exposition, the reader is thrust into this unique world, navigating technologies, strange names, unexplained terrain and a backstory that is revealed slowly. However, here's the thing (for those reviewers who found this confusing or hard to manage) you don't have to understand every word, in fact, you can just glide right over the confusing bits and hang on for the ride. I loved this simple, wildly intelligent family l ...more
Yvensong
Okay. I have tried, but just can't get past all the over-done names, etc. Maybe I'll try again at a later date.
Julie Davis
Rereading just for fun. It is still free on the Kindle. Original review below.

==============

THIS ONE IS FREE FOR THE KINDLE.

I honestly did not mean to begin another book before finishing Silas Marner. However, Silas Marner isn't the sort of book I can read in bed before going to sleep. I have to be wide awake to pay attention and pick up on the subtle humor and other excellences therein.

So I turned to my Kindle, which I hadn't turned on in over a month as I recall. I was looking for short storie
...more
Meghan
I enjoyed this book, but it took me forever to read. Not because it was boring or uninteresting, because that is certainly not the fact, but for two reasons:

1) The names of the characters were hard to digest, especially since the Reborn-in-Jesus family are the main characters in the book. Yes, that's their last name, so you can just imagine what their first names were like. It got a little confusing and I kept thinking that I really needed a character sheet so I could keep them all straight. Plu
...more
timothy morgan
Worth reading for the names

This is a fun read, quick and entertaining. Each chapter is discrete, more like reading a book of short stories than a novel. Being a fan of short stories, I'm fine with it. Only once did I think a resolution to a story was contrived and a bit lazy. If you've used it once, don't use it again. That's fine in the real world, but not in storytelling. You need a dry sense of humor for this book. Those who like their humor slapstick will probably be disappointed. If you lik
...more
Hyouten
You know that feeling when you hear an inside joke and you’re not in it? That creeping sense of confusion, forcing you to think outside any and all boxes you can wrap your brain around, and yet you still can’t make sense out of it. You take the joke at face value, blankly nodding along as you admit to yourself that you simply don’t get, and that perhaps you missed something. This, in a nutshell, is Smallworld for me.

Smallworld is supposed to be a funny book about life in a small asteroid called
...more
Andrew Lawston
Comic science-fiction can work very well. As long as it's actually funny. Dominic Green's Smallworld can't quite seem to decide how funny it wants to be. This novel about an extended family living on an asteroid protected by a robotic Devil almost lost me with a very muddled opening. Other than Uncle Anchorite and Trapp, a lot of the characters were pretty much ciphers, and the ongoing hints about Uncle Anchorite's true identity were pretty boring as it's obvious who he is before a hundred pages ...more
Zichao Deng
"I will agree to live," said Apostle, hugging Mr. Smiths close and gluing his ear firmly to the other man's, "only if my favourite guest agrees to enjoy my hospitality. Songs around the Christmas tree, a roaring log fire, mulled wine, bawdy sex games and adequate radiation shielding."
Mr Smiths' lips pursed, but also trembled.
"Very well," he said. "I consent. Just put the gun down."
Apostle separated from Mr. Smiths, beaming, and set all three safeties on the weapon with one fluid movement.
"My gue
...more
Amy L. Campbell
Dec 22, 2010 Amy L. Campbell rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: oddballs with an oddball sense of humor
Shelves: 2010, blogged, reviewed, ebook
Note: Free copy provided by publisher for review (also available for free download on press's website).

This reads like a sitcom. A very strange, wacky, somewhat low-budget sitcom. The jokes were a bit cheap in places and Green seems to have thrown as much plot as possible into the pages without really considering whether or not more plot was actually needed. Duplicated words and typos were present and the not-so-occasional use of CAPS to indicate that some characters were robots, authority figur
...more
Andrew Hinkinson
I like scifi very much but this was let down by way too much of what I call nu-speak: invented words either for stuff we're familiar with or things that haven't been invented and are the product of the author's imagination. Used sparingly, like salt or sugar in food enhancing flavour, nu-speak can lend authenticity to the most bizarre otherworldly scenarios. It can bring home the alien aspect to an unfolding drama nevertheless grounded in the real. But here? There is no real. The story provides ...more
Jessica
I expected great things from Smallworld. Something about the title, the cover, the description, billed as both a science fiction and a comedy smack in the title, and by a Hugo nominee no less - it felt like it could have been literary magic. At very least engaging. And at very, very least maybe deliver a chuckle or two.

So it's with a small amount of regret that I must report that Smallworld sucked.

From a character naming convention that was little more than a cheap way of telling the audience wh
...more
Cait
Dec 13, 2014 Cait rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Doctor Who
Shelves: ebook, sci-fi
This one started well but it sort of dragged on a bit and seemed to lose its appeal as it became more serious.

Liked the structure of it with the book being made up of short stories - preferred the early ones to the later ones.

Really liked all the characters' names, that was cleverly done though some reviews complained about this - I can understand why some people found it tiresome.

The setting was well thought out. Seemed like something out of Doctor Who.
S.A. Molteni
"Smallworld" by Dominic Green is a humorous, science fiction story filled with many laugh out loud moments.

The story is actually several stories about the Reborn-in-Jesus family and the little planetoid that they live on. Although the family has never left their home planet, many things come their way that are not expected.

I am a huge Douglas Adams fan and believe that Dominic Green has the same qualities as a science fiction writer - the story was imaginative and definitely different.

I would r
...more
Steph Bennion
This was an entertaining read, albeit not the comedy I'd expected from reading the blurb. Nor does it really work as a novel, as it reads more like a collection of (long) short stories strung together and linked by virtue of a shared cast and setting. The writing is good and there are moments of very clever (and often bizarre) humour - I particularly liked the escape from the penitentiary through psychoanalysis and Helen of Troy's personality inside a killing-machine robot (both of which appeare ...more
Robert
Asahara nodded. “People who were not made by Mommies and Daddies.” The boy nodded back. “Artificially gestated, genetically-modified clones, yes.”

Its rare to come across science fiction that relies on its own originalality, quirkyness, and humor to make it enjoyable and not the gosh-wow of its science or the explosiveness of its action. I enjoyed the first half of the book, though the last half felt bit unwieldy it was still worth reading. Similar in some ways to Hitchhikers Guide and Hal Space
...more
Laura
It was ok. It was like a collection of short stories, which the author was desperate to weave into a coherent whole. There were a lot of different elements in there, from the ongoing religious theme to pop culture references, and even a mention of an Enid Blyton series. I'm really not totally sure what I gained from this book. Just not my thing, I guess.
Jessica
Not bad. Had some laughs. Enjoyed the fun aspect of it. You don't really read a book like this and not expect it to be outlandish here and there. Had a few moments were I had trouble following it, but I blame that on the fact that I was trying to read another book at the same time, so this book kept getting put down here and there.

Giggles were had all around.
Howard
Jan 27, 2011 Howard rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf

Mount Ararat is a tiny moon, just 20km across - but thanks to neutronium at its core it has gravity and an atmosphere. Settled by a family of christian fundamentalists, the children are protected by 'the devil' - a mechanical killing machine. There's also a high security prison on the planet - but there are escapes, including a serial killer who thinks he's father christmas. It's actually a hugely funny satire, with genetically engineered 'McChickens', goats named Faith, Hope, Charity and Shub-N
...more
Eva Perkins
I really enjoyed this book, even if it seemed like it took forever to read.
Allan
Mr. and Mrs. Reborn in Jesus and family try to eke a meagre living on Mount Ararat, a planetoid the size of an asteroid, but it's not all potatoes. Well it is really but who is the mysterious Uncle Anchorite, what is the Devil that brings swift death to anyone that tries to upset the delicate balance of the world or the kids.

Good science fiction mixed with tongue-in-cheek humour mixed with tax collectors, slavers, an army press gang, a real Devil and Father Christmas the serial killer.

Had me in
...more
Nancy
A strange future written by an author with a strange sense of humor. The wife - Shun-Company Reborn in Jesus - has several children and foster children, all with names like Testament, Beguiled by the Devil, God's Wound, etc. and lives with her husband on a tiny planet (hence the book's name). Mr. Reborn in Jesus deals with the complexities of life on this strange world with uncanny stoicism. I didn't like Hitchiker's Guide to the Universe (thought it too sophomoric) but this is capturing my funn ...more
Jackie
I absolutely loved this quirky sci-fi comedy, which I picked up as a Kindle freebie. Definitely worth reading at that price, and I'll probably shell out the money for the sequel as well. It reads a bit like Terry Pratchett In Space, complete with characters that manage to surprise you and an occasional jab at pop culture.

My only complaint is that it can be a little hard to follow at times, both in the slightly rushed plot and only sketchily described science/technology. Overall, a very fun read
...more
Jane Williams
An intriguing setting, and one where I tried not to look too hard at the physics involved. The characters look like clichés, until they suddenly prove they aren't, the religious setting looks like a cliché, until it proves not to be, and there's a lot packed into quite a small volume. This isn't quite a novel, and it isn't quite a series of short stories. Think of it perhaps as a trilogy, where each volume is small but perfectly formed.
Lisa
This book was interesting, but it may not be for everyone. The plot threads are overly convoluted, and either the text or the ebook needs to be proofread. Also, although the premise is very...unusual, and there are definite comic bits, I wouldn't call this a straight up comic adventure. It also is not necessarily a smooth and easy read. However, I was intrigued enough to pick up the sequel.
Michón Neal
This is a refreshing sci-fi tale. The story is wholly original, massively entertaining, and believable. I have not enjoyed a book this much in a long while. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Green's work and can only hope to write half as wittily and engagingly. I took my time reading this one, making it last for weeks. I was not disappointed! I can't wait to read the sequel.
A.J.
Hard to describe this book, but it's a good read. In a future where time has been decimalised, a small colony on a tiny moonlet copes with an interesting range of potential threats, several of them homicidal. Some of the details are wonderful - the genetically modified McChickens, which "tasted unaccountably of dill pickle", made me laugh.
Greg
Dec 11, 2011 Greg marked it as stalled
Formatting of the version I got was totally messed up. I couldn't get past the first couple pages. Major font changes (from very small to large), spacing issues, etc. There was no way I was going to fight that... Looks like a conversion gone bad.

I'm not going to rate the book since I couldn't read it.
R.L.
4 stars for invention, imagination, and humor. 2 stars for lack of focus, especially in the last 1/3 of the book. Overall blended rating: 2.5 stars.

Think Douglas Adams in search of an editor. The occasional laugh-out-loud quirky humor wasn't enough to compensate for the lack of focus.

Paul Steele
Funny at times. Not so much at others.

Kind of hard not to take offence at the continuous slams against Christianity and other organized religions. I don't know if this was an attempt at humor, but if so it backfired and detracted from what otherwise might have been a pretty soloid effort.
Nathan Shumate
A cunning and offbeat series of stories about the Reborn-in-Jesus family, the last survivors of an ill-fated religious colony on a planetoid with an unlikely gravity and atmosphere. Quirky and unpredictable. Highly recommended.
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