I really *really* wanted to like this book. The blurb was superb and it sounded like immense fun, especially "bravely going where they really shouldn'I really *really* wanted to like this book. The blurb was superb and it sounded like immense fun, especially "bravely going where they really shouldn't...". As it turned out there was much to recommend it, with Captain Hadrian Sawback plunging into a series of ever more improbable and impossible Trekkie-type situations and trying to sleep his way around every female member of his crew. (This guy has no concept of what constitutes sexual harassment.) It was, however, relentless, and I found I could only read it in small chunks. It works excellently on the level if a Star Trek spoof, but less well in its own right. I know I'm not comparing apples with apples, but as Star Trek spoofs go it's no Galaxy Quest....more
A brilliant book for reading out loud to children (and adults) - that is if you can bottle up the explosive laughter for long enough to get the wordsA brilliant book for reading out loud to children (and adults) - that is if you can bottle up the explosive laughter for long enough to get the words out. Highly recommended....more
The humour never quite hit the spot for me, seeming more on the level of schoolboy gags including fart jokes and does-my-bum-look-big-in-this merry quThe humour never quite hit the spot for me, seeming more on the level of schoolboy gags including fart jokes and does-my-bum-look-big-in-this merry quips.
Gung-ho Isambard Smith is a naïve, junior space captain working for the British Space Empire and sporting a stiff upper lip covered by a waxed moustache. When he's given command of the rustbucket ship the John Pym and told to rescue hippie-type herbalist Rhianna Mitchell from New Francisco he doesn't realise he's been set up to be bait in a trap. Fighting (not altogether incompetently) against void sharks, the evil, insectoid Ghasts and a psychopathic space captain who is a dangerous religious fanatic. His crew consists of Carveth, a runaway sex-slave turned pilot (just as soon as she's finished reading the manual), and the Suruk, a head-collecting alien who's come along for the ride and a chance to claim a few grisly trophies. ...more
This only gets four stars instead of five because to be honest it makes a better radio play than a novel, but that doesn't mean the novel is not iconiThis only gets four stars instead of five because to be honest it makes a better radio play than a novel, but that doesn't mean the novel is not iconic. It was originally written for radio and it's the ideal medium. I have the radio series on CD and even though I haven't listened for a while at one time I could virtually chant along with it.
So why is HHG so special? I think it just caught the spirit of the moment when it first hit the BBC in (guesses) around 1977. I heard it one night driving home from working a late night at the library and when I arrived home I sat in the car with the radio on until the last echoes of the music had died away. After that I made sure I caught everty episode, bought the tape when it was made commercially available, later replaced the tapes with CDs. The nnovel is fine, but the radio play is superb. The voices of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and, of course, Peter Jones as 'The Book', are perfect.
Forget the recent Hollywood movie. The radio version has better pictures....more
I've been looking forward to another Sam Vimes book for the longest time and so as soon as I got my Kindle, this was my first purchase. It's a minor iI've been looking forward to another Sam Vimes book for the longest time and so as soon as I got my Kindle, this was my first purchase. It's a minor irritation, but Kindle doesn't handle Pratchett's footnotes very well. They are all lumped together at the end of the book, not at all easy to refer to as you go along. But that aside, this did not disappoint. Sam Vimes is dragged off to the countryside by his wife Sybil for (she thinks) a much needed holiday, but Sam should have had his suspicions when Vetinari sanctioned the trip.
To start off with Sam's not very happy. He doesn't do bucolic. He can't tell a bullfinch from a bull and doesn't particularly want to, but for young Sam's sake he'll grit his teeth, try country walks and a spot of fishing even if it kills him.
But Sam's policeman's nose isn't on holiday and he thinks he can smell a rat. It seems to be a truism that wherever there's a policeman there's a crime. The local law is a shambles with self-elected magistrates expecting the one and only constable to live quietly in their pocket. But Constable Feeny has the makings of a pretty good copper once Sam has licked him into shape and together they try and solve a murder which, in turn exposes a dark crime and a terrible injustice.
I've never read a Vimes book I didn't like but this one is particularly lovely for showing both Sam the family man and the darker Sam that understands the criminal mind because he has one himself.
There's a brief appearance by Vetinari and various members of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, but it's Willikins, Vimes' gentleman's gentleman who takes a turn as chief supporting character in this book, to great effect.
I should have got round to reading this sooner, but football is not my favourite sport. Let's face it, sport is not my favourite sport! But this is TeI should have got round to reading this sooner, but football is not my favourite sport. Let's face it, sport is not my favourite sport! But this is Terry Pratchett and, of course, it's not just about football.
What is it about? Race, tolerance, outsiders, mob psychology, bullies, fame, old rivalries. And it's about The Shove – the crowd – volatile, dangerous, a character in its own right.
Set in the Unseen University, it introduces some of the below stairs characters, Trev Likely and Mr Nutt, candle dribblers, whose job is to make sure that the sculptural waterfalls of old wax adorning the sconces are picturesque. There's also homely Glenda Sugarbean and beautiful Juliet Stollop, from the UU's kitchens. Plus, of course the usual assortment of Wizards including old favourites, the Librarian, Ponder Stibbons and Archchancellor Ridcully.
To retain a bequest the University must field a team in a goodwill match of foot-the-ball. Trev Likely, son of the famous foot-the-baller Dave Likely (deceased) is determined not to follow in his father's footsteps, but he has the talent for it. Juliet has the face for fame and stumbles into modelling dwarf armour and is an overnight success (though disguised behind a beard). The surprisingly well educated Mr. Nutt and Trev form an unlikely friendship. But the biq question throughout the book is who is Nutt or even, what is he? Vetinari Knows and he's watching not only Nutt's progress, but also the progress of the rest of Ankh Morpork in relation to Nutt.
All is eventually revealed and resolved, of course. Highly recommended. ...more
I shouldn't have... I really shouldn't have. For a start I didn't have time and there's the fact that I've already read it and there are so many otherI shouldn't have... I really shouldn't have. For a start I didn't have time and there's the fact that I've already read it and there are so many other books waiting for my attention... But I went along to the Baen Free Library site and...well it was there. Even so I could have just downloaded it and kept it for later... but I read the first sentence and I was hooked.
Yes, I've read this before but it remains one of my favourite Miles Vorkosigan books and a perfect introduction to the maddening, hyperactive, totally brilliant little runt. Miles is 17, trying to get into the trying to get into the Barrayaran military academy on his own merits, which means competing against, or training with, the perfect physical specimens who are ideal for the Barrayaran war machine. Miles, barely four feet six tall, crook-backed and brittle boned due to a Soltoxin gas attack on his mother while he was in her womb, doesn't stand a chance of passing the physical, but he's petitioned for his test results to be aggregated, so if he can score close to 100% on the written, he's in. All he's got to do is get round the obstacle course without breaking anything.
He falls at the first hurdle, literally, and washes out with two broken legs.
So his parents send him off to visit his Betan grandmother with the faithful (if psychopathic) Sgt Bothari and Bothari's daughter, Elena, in attendance.
You've just got to love Miles. Things HAPPEN to him... or happen because of him. Firstly he picks up a couple of strays, Baz, a Barrayaran deserter on the skids and Arde Mayhew a jump ship pilot who is holding out in a siege, trying to preserve the last working jump ship that his implant will fly. Then he picks up a ship... the same said jump ship... on an impulse to help Mayhew keep flying. Once he's got a ship, a pilot and an engineer (Baz) he needs a cargo, because of course he's now also got a debt, which he's secured against some land that he owns back on Barrayar. Unfortunately the land is still radioactive and likely to be so for the next few hundred years at least, but that's a minor point.
With me so far?
So the only cargo available is a load of agricultural implements (OK, they're weapons really) destined for the losing side in a turf-war. In order to deliver then he needs to get to the other side of a blockade run by a bunch of mercenaries.
It's all going do well... and then Elena is threatened and the whole plan starts to swirl down the toilet. But Miles is in overdrive. One thing leads to another and a small untruth turns into a colossal lie and then the whole thing escalates into a huge bloody fantasy. Miles, using his mother's surname, Naismith, finds himdelf in charge of a mercenary fleet, flying the whole operation by the seat of his pants, manipulating people cleverly to cover the gaps in his knowledge and searching for a way out that will allow him to retain some semblance of personal honour while not letting down his crews.
This book is a wild ride, at times laugh out loud funny and at other times heartbreaking. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read any Vorkosigan books. It's a superb introduction to one of Bujold's best characters. ...more