Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How I Conquered Your Planet” as Want to Read:
How I Conquered Your Planet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How I Conquered Your Planet

(Frank Burly #2)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  38 reviews
One of a series of comedy science fiction novels featuring slow-witted detective Frank Burly. By John Swartzwelder, the writer of The Time Machine Did It and 59 episodes of the Simpsons.
Paperback, 158 pages
Published April 12th 2006 by Kennydale Books (first published April 1st 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How I Conquered Your Planet, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How I Conquered Your Planet

Community Reviews

Showing 1-59
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  582 ratings  ·  38 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How I Conquered Your Planet
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
John Swartzwelder, notoriously reclusive Simpsons scribe, is known for penning some of that show's funniest and most culturally pointed episodes. He is capable of being absurd without succumbing to plot-driven idiocy and able to nestle high-brow-rising humor next to the goofiest of puns without skipping a beat. Few of the show's current writers can boast his kind of output, whether you're measuring it by episode or by how many gags he can fit into any given minute.

His books (four so far) don't t
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was an hilarious read. I enjoy the dry humor and how the set up lines become the punch lines. This novel is full of the nonsensical throw away lines from The Simpsons that make you say "What the hell?" and then laugh and then ask what happened to your sandwich. See how I worked one of those lines in myself? Pretty brilliant, huh? Yeah, I didn't think so, either, but I'm not a comedy writer, so you can't expect brilliance. I mean, you could, but that would be pretty stupid of you, Zak. ...more
Chris Eng
Nov 20, 2011 rated it liked it
It's basically Homer Simpson if he were a private detective and let loose in a science-fiction movie. Does that sound appealing to you? Then you should probably read this and, really, all of John Swartzwelder's books about Frank Burly. ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is one of a series of a sci-fi comedy series starring Frank Burly, a dimwitted detective. How I Conquered Your Planet is a laugh out loud quick read - one that could be finished in a sitting. This is not a book that will be required reading for high school students, but it is a book that people of all ages should read and enjoy.

When Martians take over Planet Earth, Frank Burly may not be the man you expect to save the day, but in How I Conquered Your Planet, Burly is the man. Twice. Using
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining and super dry. I love when the hero is an idiot and yet somehow accomplishes amazing feats...repeatedly. It read like if David Sedaris wrote an episode of Futurama. Totally worth the few hours, short book.
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing like a book that makes you laugh out loud. Well done. I particularly enjoyed the references to 1984. Also Arthur Gremlin.
Natalie Rix
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely hilarious and brilliant. I couldn’t stop giggling and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. Now I want to read all of Frank Burly’s hapless and eccentric adventures.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, 150 pages, 150 jokes
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Imagine if Homer Simpson was a private detective in a sci-fi book... dense with jokes.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
swartzwelder gives us more pure comedy with a completely stakesless take on a martian invasion of earth, headed up by brainwashed detective hero frank burly. swartzwelder was the most prolific writer on the Simpsons, writing 59 episodes (which it says right on the cover of the book) and the book is TV paced: like 30 rock or other transcendent modern television comedies, the pace of jokes is near impossible to keep up with; every sentence has a punchline. which is good, because plot-wise, there's ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
A strange and funny science-fiction/noir mashup by a former Simpsons writer.

I've now read two Swartzwelder novels (this and "The Time Machine did it") and I find that you almost have to read them out loud. There is a rhythm to the humor that doesn't always come across when it's just words on the page--no surprise for anyone who watched the Golden age of the Simpsons. This was a little more linear than "Time Machine" and by the end, I kind of ran out of steam reading it. Having said that, there
David Seeman
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Frank Burly is the best detective in town. Can't wait to read the next book in the series. Hilarious! Read it dummy
Kaleb Horton
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
See my review of "The Time Machine Did It." ...more
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Laughed out loud several times. A joke every paragraph, with well constructed call backs and jokes that build on each other. Definitely reading more in this series.
Larry Kahaner
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I laughed, I cried. Just kidding. I laughed only.

Pretty funny stuff if you like absurdity - which I do. Here are nine more words as required to post.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This has no right being as funny as it is.
Tyson Cocks
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is light, silly reading but darn it if it didn’t make me laugh. Lots of clever jokes disguised as mindlessness. Very entertaining.
Sean Delaney
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Not as good as the first book but funny nonetheless. 👍
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Laura by: Joe Plaminek
A student of mine had been talking about this book and how sort of odd it was, so he gave it to me to look at. I ended up reading it over one full day of commuting (easily done since it's only about 150 pages of nice big print) and agreed with his overall assessment of Swartzwelder's weaknesses.

It's quite obvious that Swartzwelder has a background in animation; most of his gags are far too visual and they end up unfunny and flat. The entire book also feels slapped together so quickly that it do
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, westend
Like John Swartzwelder's other books, he just keeps throwing joke after joke at you. And they're usually very good -- really of the caliber of a good Simpsons episode. At times, I imagined Frank Burly as Homer Simpson and ti works pretty well.

The problem is that it's missing an emotional and dramatic core. Everything serves the jokes and the jokes are a little erratic(because much humor is built on surprise). And so it starts to grow a bit thin and wearying. It feels a bit that Swartzwelder wou
Don Massenzio
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I am a Simpsons fan from the very beginning of the show. John Swartzwelder is one of the most prolific writers for the show. While watching DVDs of the series and listening to the commentary (yes I'm a geek) Al Jean and others referred to Swartzwelder's self-published books. They also referred to him as a recluse who writes his scripts at home and has them delivered to the studio.

I was intrigued and ordered all three of Swartzwelder's books in paperback. They were quirky and marginally funny. I
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Frank Burly takes a second job as a bus driver, and even a detective as stupid as Frank can tell there’s something weird about the passengers who get on at the mysterious new glowing bus stop out at the crop circles. For one thing, they pay the bus fare using money that looks like crops. They have antennae and they do a lot of hissing and mind control and they keep stealing military secrets. Maybe they’re magicians or something?

I messed up by reading the Swartzwelder books too fast, though. The
Matt Payne
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This one might be slightly more hilarious than his other ridiculous novels. Even though it's full of aliens and stupidity, the retarded humour always catches me off guard (for some reason).

If you're unfamiliar with Swartzwelder, he's a writer for the Simpsons and it's the same kind of humour. A little bit of satire combined with cleverness that's so stupid it shouldn't be funny, but it's the most hilarious writing I've ever read. Honestly. So far all of his books are pretty much the same, but be
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Frank Burly book #2. Found it even more amusing (and absurd)than the first. Will probably go back for the third (and the rest) at some point in the future.

Recommended if you need a break from "serious" reading and need a quick laugh.

PS: Is it bad I find Mr Burly to be a very relatable character?
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like all of John Swartzwelder's book, this one was very funny. Whenever I read his books I feel like "wow, someone's finally speaking my language."

This one reminds me of Vonnegut in some of its themes.

It's a quick read, so there's no reason you should skip this.
Jul 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
A humorous sci-fi novel starring Frank Burley, Swartzwelder's Homer-esque Private Dic. It's a quick enjoyable read with a plot and some lol moments. ...more
Nov 19, 2008 added it
Shelves: want-to-read
As seen on Writers Read. ...more
Knut Sigurd
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Det er sjeldan eg flirer så lite medan eg les ei bok, og då er vel romanen mislukka som humorbok.
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bizarre, convoluted, nonsensical and funny.
Joey B
marked it as to-read
May 11, 2007
added it
Jun 26, 2007
marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2007
added it
Jul 23, 2007
added it
Jul 27, 2007
Leo Clark
marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2007
marked it as to-read
Aug 01, 2007
marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2007
added it
Aug 20, 2007
marked it as to-read
Oct 29, 2007
added it
Nov 02, 2007
added it
Nov 09, 2007
added it
Jan 26, 2008
added it
Feb 07, 2008
added it
Feb 17, 2008
added it
Mar 08, 2008
added it
Mar 23, 2008
Scott Miller
marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2008
is currently reading it
Apr 30, 2008
added it
May 08, 2008
added it
Jun 06, 2008
marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2008
marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2008
marked it as to-read
Aug 06, 2008
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • It's Garry Shandling's Book
  • Based on a True Story
  • High Adventure in the Great Outdoors
  • Dreams of an Imaginary New Yorker Named Rizzoli
  • Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going
  • Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction
  • Hits and Misses
  • Thank You for Smoking
  • To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
  • Hench
  • Hitchcock
  • The Amazing Adventures of Phoenix Jones: And the Less Amazing Adventures of Some Other Real-Life Superheroes
  • The Villa, The Lake, The Meeting: Wannsee and the Final Solution
  • National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History
  • Ancient Greece: Everyday Life in the Birthplace of Western Civilization
  • Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons
  • The Silence
  • Worldview Guide for The Scarlet Letter
See similar books…
American absurd satirical novelist and former writer of the animated comedy show "The Simpsons"

Swartzwelder won an Emmy Award as a writer of 59 episodes of the Simpsons.

In 2004 he released his first satirical science-fiction novel about a private investigator called Frank Burly.

Other books in the series

Frank Burly (10 books)
  • The Time Machine Did It
  • The Exploding Detective
  • Dead Men Scare Me Stupid
  • Earth Vs. Everybody
  • The Last Detective Alive
  • The Fifty Foot Detective
  • The Million Dollar Policeman
  • Detective Made Easy
  • Burly Go Home

News & Interviews

Believe it or not, we're halfway through 2021! As is our tradition, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial team burrows into our data to...
98 likes · 79 comments
“The problem was I wasn’t very good at things. Everybody knows somebody like that. And I was the guy I knew. I wasn’t very dependable either. And I guess I didn’t smell too good most of the time. I didn’t have much going for me, to be honest.” 0 likes
“He looked at me like I was stupid. Why do people always look at me like that?” 0 likes
More quotes…