In the past few days this blog has been inundated with visitors from the Space Captain Smith website. It seems that my sneak peak review last month was the first review the book had received and new fans are checking it out. I was quite positive about it, as I recall. Well now I have read the whole thing and can report back in more detail.
It is a very silly book. But it is also very funny. I suspect it is going to be the first in an extremely popular series. Publishers are always looking for the 'next' Douglas Adams, someone who can combine great wit, wisdom and imagination with a cracking plot, and Toby Frost definitely does that. He won't mind me suggesting that he has a long way to go before he can hope to get near to emulating Adams, but this is a pretty good start.
Space Captain Smith is effectively Flashman in space. A rip-roaring tale of derring-do which doesn't take itself remotely seriously but, like all great spoofs, conforms to the rules of the genre and is affectionate in its piss-taking. Isambard Smith is sent on a mission to pick up an important passenger and is given a rickety old ship and a crew of one simulant to do the job. He augments the staff with his alien mate Suruk (always up for some beheading, young Suruk) and blasts off, oblivious to the fact that he is a mere space pawn in a larger galactic game. Plenty of twists, turns and nob gags on the way with a novel that should appeal to geeks, aficionados and lovers of adventure tales alike. I defy anyone not to laugh out loud several times.
Myrmidon, the publisher, has once again done a great job with the cover and has managed to get the book promoted in Waterstone's and Smiths Travel, I believe, so it should be pretty easy to find. Independent bookshops have been good supporters of their books to date as well so it is a good bet that your local will have it in stock.
Literature can be a bit too stuffy at times, it is great to find something that is well-written but also rather silly. We could all do with reading something like this.