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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vast Achievement
The best work of comic fiction since, well. Since Terry Pratchett stabbed comic fiction dead, as it was waiting for the night bus home.
A book written so lovingly, and with such a transparent relish for the subject matter, that you'd have to be dry, joyless and some kind of diseased parasite not to enjoy it.
Yes, it uses piratical cliché - but that's all...
Published on 8 Sep 2004 by hollow_deli

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Laughable in a bad way
Some Pirates set off on an adventure with Charles Darwin, to exhibit his new discovery - the Manpanzee, a chimp who understands basic etiquette and wears a suit - and save his brother Erasmus from the evil Bishop.

The book's comparisons to Blackadder are very generous, while the book is obviously written in a comical tone, it doesn't square up to the wit of Ben...
Published on 23 April 2012 by Sam Quixote


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vast Achievement, 8 Sep 2004
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
The best work of comic fiction since, well. Since Terry Pratchett stabbed comic fiction dead, as it was waiting for the night bus home.
A book written so lovingly, and with such a transparent relish for the subject matter, that you'd have to be dry, joyless and some kind of diseased parasite not to enjoy it.
Yes, it uses piratical cliché - but that's all seven seas away from actually being piratically clichéd; the author's knowledge and blatant fondness for this well-worn genre allow him to tinker with, prod at, tweakily subvert and make funny all the things we'd expect of pirates, and without which we'd be confused, and wonder why we were reading a pirate book in the first place.
The author does all this, and never once veers into being smug, or saying "goodness me, look how clever I was there, that was a play on words, I must be wonderful". It's quite simply the most likeable and funny book I've read in my entire, stupid life.
As this book is so short, however, I must insist that the author writes many, many, more of them.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, 3 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
The Pirates is a very funny book and you would have to be the Bishop of Oxford not to enjoy it! Plenty of Pirate jokes and Arrrrring but there is also some very funny bits involving Hams, Charles Darwin, Victorian Freak Shows and the Natural History Museum.
I am very much looking forward to the next installment, in which I am hoping that the Pirate Captain will reveal his secret for how he keeps his beard so silky!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A massive surprise, 21 May 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
I didn't really expect much from this book, as I'm getting quite sick of comic fiction. But as soon as I started reading I was drawn in by the unique tone that the author has used. 'The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists' tells the story of a crew of hapless pirates on an adventure that takes in Charles Darwin, Victorian London and a 'man-panzee' as well as having fun with the usual pirate clichés. More importantly, it's packed with actual jokes.
It took me a while to get used to the characters (none of the pirates have names!) but when you get into it, the book moves on at a fair pace. It's a bit short, but then it's pretty clear that the author didn't intend to write a pretentious slab of 'proper literature' so much as make the reader laugh. I'd definitely recommend 'The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists' to anyone with a sense of humour and an interest in the development of Darwinism.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ham, pirate conventions, man-panzees and dastardly Bishops, 5 Jan 2004
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
Have just read the final chapter (after all the previous chapters I must add) and I have thoroughly enjoyed it (that’s the whole book and not just the final chapter). Lots of feasting (which sort of dies out towards the end of the book), plans, pirating (which includes a fair bit of running through with cutlasses). There’s some plank walking, ham and appearances from well-known celebrities of their time Charles Darwin, The Elephant Man, The Bishop of Oxford and Mr Bobo the Man-Panzee.
There are some truly laugh-out-loud moments including one ladies first meeting of The Elephant Man.
Although the back of the book mentions Blackadder as a reference, think Monty Python does pirating movie mixed with some George Macdonald Frasier (Flashman novels) and the 70s movie version of The Three Musketeers and you’re on the right path. There are some cunning plans though.
Not going to spoil it by telling you what exactly happens – except there is a fair bit of pirate Arrrrrrrring. Did I mention the hams?
Only downside? Too damn short! Interesting sciencey bits though!
I want more adventures with the Pirate Captain and his no.2, the pirate with the scarf.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Break out the Grog and Custard Creams - arrrrrrrh!, 1 Aug 2005
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
How funny is this book!!
With jolly escapades and hearty roaring the Pirate Captain leads his crew into another adventure with dubloons a few, hams a plenty, top advice for scientists interested in picking up pretty girls, Victorian hat styles, how to fight Bishops (knowledge of atomic weights an advantage), Darwinish (the practical truth behind the theory) ...and a tricky critique at the end - anyone know the final answer?
Not to mention a valuable lesson in why you should always eat plenty of limes (gin optional) and all your greens.
I tried reading it out loud to my son (who is only 1) but couldn't get through a whole paragraph without giggling. Shout about this book - it's that good!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Pure Brilliant, 14 Sep 2005
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
This book was recommended to me by a friend who said her son bought it and he and his girlfriend said it was the first book they had laughed out loud at. I didn't belly laugh but I had a good few chuckles out loud. It is the kind of book you would like someone to make in to a film - with Eddie Izzard playing the pirate captain me thinks! It is also small enough to slip in to your pocket and take on holiday and who knows you may just laugh out loud.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Break out the Grog and Custard Creams - arrrrrrrh!, 1 Aug 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
How funny is this book!!
With jolly escapades and hearty roaring the Pirate Captain leads his crew into another adventure with dubloons a few, hams a plenty, top lessons for scientists interested in picking up pretty girls, Victorian hat styles, how to fight Bishops (knowledge of atomic weights an advantage), Darwinish (the practical truth behind the theory) ...and a tricky critique at the end - anyone know the final answer?
Not to mention a valuable lesson in why you should always have plenty of limes (gin optional) and eat up all your greens.
I tried reading it out loud to my son (who is only 1) but couldn't get through a whole paragraph without giggling. Shout about this book - it's that good!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliantly simple, 15 Feb 2005
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
This book was a present, and, I have to say, I'm very grateful! It's a deceptively simple, funny and really quite silly story that made me laugh out loud at several points. Opinion will be divided on this - you'll either love it or hate it (well, just see all the reviews!). If you like Monty Python, if you have a slightly bizarre sense of humour and if you still read children's stories, I reckon you're onto a winner. If not, you're missing out.
There's probably deep and meaningful messages in it - I'm sure they were lurking at the edge of my consciousness - but don't let them get in the way of a great story. Roll on the rest of the Pirate books - I'll be buying them for sure.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small but perfectly formed silliness, 24 Aug 2006
By 
Nigel Collier (Hull) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
At a 131 pages long - and most of those made up of dialogue in relatively large point font - this is much more the script for a sitcom episode than it is a novel. And as such it is superb. The style of humour is very much akin to Blackadder with a hint of Harry Hill and perhaps Mark Steel at times. The plot in this episode sees the Pirate Captain capture the Beagle on its historical voyage of scientific discovery to the Galapagos Islands. Finding the ship full of monkeys rather the expected treasure, the pirates become embroiled in a highly unlikely caper to rescue Darwin's brother from the evil clutches of the diabolical Bishop of Oxford. The adventure comes to a dramatic climax in the Natural History Museum and then Big Ben.

But the premise of the story isn't really important - being basically a sit-com it's just a vehicle for the characters and gags and uses some familiar sitcom devices very well. With his pirate crew, Defoe juxtaposes the traditional antics of scurvy knaves with the trappings of the urbane, placing characters from the Spanish Main incongruously into modern day Britain with cultural references from left-field.

It is fun. You will have a giggle reading it and look forward to the next instalment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Laughable in a bad way, 23 April 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (Hardcover)
Some Pirates set off on an adventure with Charles Darwin, to exhibit his new discovery - the Manpanzee, a chimp who understands basic etiquette and wears a suit - and save his brother Erasmus from the evil Bishop.

The book's comparisons to Blackadder are very generous, while the book is obviously written in a comical tone, it doesn't square up to the wit of Ben Elton and Richard Curtis' scripts.

It doesn't care about characters so much, none of the pirates have names and are called simply "the Pirate Captain" and "the Pirate with a scarf", and so on. It doesn't care about plot or story, it just kind of meanders from one thing to the next, seemingly at random. History is skewered as 17th century pirates mingle in Victorian London and speak in a 21st century vernacular.

Basically the novel is absolute rubbish and was apparently written to impress a girl the author liked to convince her to leave her boyfriend (she didn't).

But while the novel is utter crap, it should be required reading for anyone aspiring to become a novelist themselves because as you read it you're thinking "THIS counts? THIS can get published? That's amazing, now that load of cobblers I put together in a few weeks stands as much a chance as any!". If the bar is this low, anyone can make it over, and anyone reading this would gain the confidence to complete their projects knowing that whatever they're writing, it stands as much a chance of getting picked up by Hollywood and made into a movie.

One star for the book, another for the positive impact its existence is likely to have on writers with self-doubt.
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The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe (Hardcover - 26 Aug 2004)
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