5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, different and fantastic!
Rating: 5 out of 5 Fairies
Die Laughing is a dark comedy sci-fi story set in Las Vegas in 50s America and centres around a stand up comedian called Sam. E Lakeside. Sam has just got the break he's been waiting for, a chance to leave the seedy bars and comedy clubs behind for a booking on the Steve Allen Show. Finally, he's going make it big;...
Published 5 months ago by Bex 'N' Books
3.0 out of 5 stars Like Nothing I've Read Before!
It's the 1950s and Sam E. Lakeside is an up-and-coming stand-up comedian who has just been given the opportunity of his life - to perform on the Steve Allen show. But before he makes it to stardom, he has a run-in with some shape-shifting, green-gas-shooting aliens, who, along with their leader, are trying to rob the Earth of its oil. Helping the aliens with their mission...
Published on 25 Aug 2011 by Enkaypee
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, different and fantastic!,
This review is from: Die Laughing (Paperback)Reviewer: Kay
Rating: 5 out of 5 Fairies
Die Laughing is a dark comedy sci-fi story set in Las Vegas in 50s America and centres around a stand up comedian called Sam. E Lakeside. Sam has just got the break he's been waiting for, a chance to leave the seedy bars and comedy clubs behind for a booking on the Steve Allen Show. Finally, he's going make it big; that is until a mobster puts a contract out on him for messing with his girlfriend. Just as Sam is digging his own shallow grave in the Nevada desert with a gun aimed at him, the unimaginable happens. Sam, and the would be assassin, Francis, and his tough sexy girlfriend, Cricket, are all abducted by aliens...
Die Laughing is not normally the type of story I go for, but I'm so glad I did. The plot is very well written as are the characters. Each of them very individual and each with their own inner demons. The story moves at a fast pace, and has many jokes and quips peppered all the way through it. There are many references to 50s American TV some of which I wasn't familiar with, but that aside, this was a very enjoyable book with underlying messages scattered throughout. Its not often that I comment on book covers, but this one is brilliant! Bright, eye catching and retro, it demands attention; it's one you cannot ignore.
I would definitely recommend Die Laughing; it's fresh and different and a fantastic change to my normal reading list. I was pleasantly surprised with it, and I look forward to reading more from Mr Lowy. I give Die Laughing 5 fantastic Bexstars! A job well done.
Disclosure: This was a personal read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Original,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Cheesy Alien Tale? Think Again!,
The story begins in 1950's Las Vegas. Stand-up comic Sam E. Lakeside's main goal is to make it to NYC to his booking on the Steve Allen Show. His plans are derailed when a mobster puts a hit out on him for messing around with his girlfriend. The timely appearance of an alien spacecraft is the only thing that keeps him from being "offed". Unfortunately, for Sam E., things only go from bad to worse as he's thrown into a situation of saving the earth from some oil-addicted extraterrestrials.
I have to admit, I wondered whether a story centered around 1950's TV and aliens would wind up being corny as all get-out. I'm happy to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Sam E.'s story unfolds in humorous and touching ways. I found his personal inner demons very poignant. Mr. Lowy did an incredible job with Sam. E's evolution from a shallow, self-serving comedian to a man with a real conscious who puts others first for a change. He cracks hilarious, and sometimes crude or corny, jokes throughout the whole book, which kept me laughing. The other characters in the story--sexy but tough Cricket, smart and skeptical Lee, and slimy villain Francis--really took on a life of their own. Mr. Lowy handled their subplots with seeming effortlessness. And let us not forget the aliens, who can take the form of anyone who's appeared on TV. This aspect alone added a rich complexity of plot development.
Besides the compelling characters, Mr. Lowy writes with a confidence, authority, and command of language that one would expect in a page-turner. The book doesn't suffer from the common problems of poor grammar, typos, or excessive wordiness. Instead, each word, paragraph, and chapter seemed perfectly honed to provide a smooth reading experience.
I had only one very minor quibble with the book, and that was the immense amount of time-period descriptions. No doubt the author did a fantastic job in research. Every item, from Pall Malls to Howdy Doody's wooden lips, gave the story undeniable authenticity. However, at one point, I felt like it was just a tad too much, as though the reader was being constantly reminded where and when the story was taking place. That's really the only thing that could have been toned down.
This book is suitable for adults of all ages, particularly American adults. I don't care if you're not a sci-fi or 50's era fan. You're going to love it. People who grew up during the 50's will appreciate it for the nostalgia of old TV and Sci-Fi movies. It's just a darn good book. Now, go buy it and see what all the fuss is about!
5.0 out of 5 stars a Must read even from a non Sci-Fi fan,
5.0 out of 5 stars 1950's sci-fi with a lot of funny!,
Sam E. Lakeside is a stand-up comic climbing the ladder of success when he is suddenly beamed aboard an alien spacecraft. These aliens, who can take the form of anyone they see on television, adopt a mobster to aid them in their plan to steal all the earth's oil. When Sam's manager (best friend) is murdered, Sam is set on revenge. With the mobster's girlfriend and a black-listed comic book writer, Sam heads to New York and the Steve Allen Show to put an end to the alien threat. He finds he must make a monumental decision--his career or the earth's survival.
I'll admit, I wasn't so sure about this one when I was asked to review it. Cheesy sci-fi and horror films and greasy comedians aren't typically my thing. I have to say, however, Lowy might have converted me! This book was an action-packed page-turner! I absolutely loved that Sam E. was a comic and all these goofy little jokes were scattered throughout the story. The way he interacts with the other characters, sometimes shallow but showing a deeper side when he lets his guard down, made him so appealing and relatable. Each of the characters had some sort of wall around themselves, and as the story progresses we get to see those walls slowly come down.
I thought I didn't know much about the 50s before I started reading this, but it really reminded me how much we have carried over into our generation. There were times that I felt like I had a quick, easy history lesson on all things 50s--well, the things that count, right? For someone that didn't find the era that interesting, Lowy certainly brought it into a whole new light!
The idea that these aliens could take on the appearance of anyone they had seen on television was brilliant! When they were in their true form, they were pretty gross, but when they were Howdy Doody and Lucille Ball, they were hilarious. Not very smart, but funny...
Louis K. Lowy is a fantastic writer. His characters are well-rounded and perfectly developed. He knows how to describe a scene so the reader is actually transported within. Timing and pacing is spot-on. I cannot say enough great things about this book!
Even if you think this isn't your thing, give it a shot anyway. I did, and I don't regret it!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Turn off the TV and hide your oil...the aliens are coming!!!,
That is the dilemma faced by stand-up comedian Sam E. Lakeside in Louis Lowy's Die Laughing.
Take the things that make a B movie fun: Space Aliens, mobsters, a plot for world domination involving celebrity impersonations, now add character development, wit and good writing. Set it all in the 1950's and you got I was going to say a really good first novel, but it's just a really good novel period.
The book is very funny, often times dark sometimes both at the same time. It is also action packed and unpredictable, which will keep you glued to every page so you can see what's next. The alien's plan is brilliantly insane and their reason for it even more so. I won't spoil it for you, just go read it!
One thing that struck me about this Die Laughing is one day I found myself talking to someone and telling them about that movie was it that had that spaceship with the egg-shaped viewer/transporter thingie" and then realized I was thinking about the book. I always find it a sign of a well written novel when I can picture the scenes so clearly detailed in my mind that I forget I've never actually seen them.
A funny, dark book that is truly enjoyable, I can't wait till they make this into a movie so I can then complain how the book was so much better!
3.0 out of 5 stars Like Nothing I've Read Before!,
This review is from: Die Laughing (Paperback)It's the 1950s and Sam E. Lakeside is an up-and-coming stand-up comedian who has just been given the opportunity of his life - to perform on the Steve Allen show. But before he makes it to stardom, he has a run-in with some shape-shifting, green-gas-shooting aliens, who, along with their leader, are trying to rob the Earth of its oil. Helping the aliens with their mission would shoot Sam into the nationwide limelight, but trying to save the planet would jeopardise his career and his big break. It's a tough choice to make... If you're a comedian and the world's in your hands, it's no laughing matter.
At first I was a little unsure about if I should go for this book or not. It's described as `a humorously dark sci-fi adventure', which my regular readers will know is not normally the type of thing I would go for! Sci-fi is not something I know a lot about, so I umm'd and aah'd a lot beforehand; I wanted to make sure I could be objective. That is my job, so as I've been trying to broaden my range, I threw myself in at the deep end...
Sam E. Lakeside is a funny guy put in a very difficult position. Having recently read the autobiography of a comedian and how he rose to fame, I have an understanding of how difficult it can be to reach the top, so I sort of felt for Sam as he struggled to get his big break. He is always cracking jokes, but I think he is probably quite an insecure character behind his showmanship, what with his difficult childhood and confused love life. This made him very endearing, as there was so much more to him than just being a funny-man. Talking of his jokes, in my opinion they were mostly quite cheesy, but on the whole they managed to make me smile. Nothing laugh out loud funny, but they were pretty good. I can only imagine the author had a whole load of fun with a joke book while writing! Either that, or he's thought up all these jokes himself and should make a go of it as a comedian! It was easy to see Sam's dilemma, but sometimes I thought it should have just been a straight-forward decision - surely the safety of the whole world is of paramount importance?! I know it's all a bit tongue in cheek, but this aspect of his character lessened my opinion of Sam a little bit.
It was for this reason that I probably gelled with Cricket (Sam's friend and sidekick) a bit more - she was by far my favourite character. She couldn't understand Sam's indecision, but was too scared and caring to let him go it alone with the aliens. She was forced to spend time with (anything more we are only left to assume) the aliens' leader - who is also a human - so my heart went out to her as it bordered on blackmail or abuse. I especially liked the way she managed to stay so calm under such difficult and stressful circumstances. She has a love interest, but this was a minor storyline and served to make the characters seem more real, rather than being the main focus of the plot.
I found the aliens in this book really funny actually - they can change their form to look like anyone in the world...as long as they've appeared on TV! This proves for some very famous, surprising and humorous appearances, including Marilyn Monroe, Nat King Cole, and others. The aliens can't speak English properly (apart from swear words - typical!) so have to be taught, otherwise they come out with some rather amusing phrases. In their natural form I expect them to be pretty scary, but the green stuff that they shoot out their index fingers at threatening or annoying humans is a nice, cool touch.
The story as a whole was very light hearted and humorous, and included all sorts of hidden jokes and quips. There was just the odd reference which was very sharp and witty, and clever if you notice them. I only noticed a few, but given my slightly limited knowledge of the context, I'm sure there are many more you can pick up on!
Lowy has a very easy to read writing style, which made for a smooth, quick, enjoyable and easy read. There were a few flashbacks from Sam, but they weren't confusing or out of place at all. Throughout the whole book it was always clear what was going on, who was good and who was bad, and so on. I can only assure you that due to the writing style, reading `Die Laughing' was a pleasure.
The plot had a good mixture of tension and calm, as it was fast paced and exciting at times, but slower paced at others. However, I didn't find it boring or dragging at all, as the story was still interesting and funny, and the aforementioned writing style kept the pace moving. In any case, I didn't particularly mind having slower parts, as it meant it felt extra exciting when all the action came!
The ending of a book is very important to me, as it's the final impact that the book makes on me which is what I'm left with afterwards. I usually like books to go out with a bang - not literally! What I mean is that I like books to keep me hooked right until the end, and if they have some sort of twist or unexpected event, all the better. Well, the ending of `Die Laughing' didn't set my world on fire, but it wasn't what I expected either. It wasn't a shocking twist ending, but I was suitably impressed! Read it, then you'll see...Betcha didn't see that coming!
As I hope I've made clear, this is a very fun story, but I have a feeling that it also has some very serious and important messages held within. Sort of like Avatar, only not as hard-hitting. I say this because obviously oil plays a major factor in the plot, as the humans and aliens are basically vying for power and oil in equal measures. Therefore, I think that the book takes a very hard look at what will happen to our planet if we continue to fight like animals over this precious resource. However, it's not done in a very obvious way; the message is delivered in a softer, more subtle way through the fun and humorous plot. I don't know if this was the author's intention or not, but this is a clear and important message which I picked up from reading the book.
I would say, though, that to appreciate `Die Laughing' fully, you should really be some sort of sci-fi aficionado, or at least have seen some of the more popular and famous sci-fi films. It might also help if you have at least a little knowledge of American celebs in the 50s. I fall at most of these hurdles, yet still enjoyed and understood the story, but I think if I'd had more of a working knowledge of these things I would have been able to appreciate it more fully. This links back to my decision to read this book - it isn't anything like my usual sort of thing, but I have certainly broadened my horizons! If this does sound like something you read a lot of, I'm sure you'll get more out of it than I did; if, like me, this is a treat or an unusual read, look at it as just that, and don't worry if some of it goes over your head. Not that it's too specialised or highbrow, just that you may not be used to the topics covered.
Overall, `Die Laughing' was like nothing I've ever read before! I thought the characters were great as they fit well within the story, and I really enjoyed the flowing writing style. The political messages were important, and even if you take nothing else away from reading this, you may be convinced to spare a thought for what might happen if we continue to fight for oil. However, I didn't have a good background knowledge of the context or of famous sci-fi films, so I don't think I enjoyed this book as much as I could have: this let it down for me, although it is my own fault of course! I'd recommend it only if you have more sci-fi experience than I do - either way, it's certainly a fun read which is something different from anything you will have already read!
Many thanks to Mr. Lowy for providing a copy for me to review :)
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing; multifaceted,
I don't want to give anything away, as the reader will benefit from delving into this fast paced, dark (yet humorous) science fiction.
What I like about this story is that is its multidimensionality. On the surface, it is a humorous scifi set in 1950s USofA. But it is much more. It is meticulously researched and is saturated with motifs of the era - you really feel you are there with the characters, transported back in time. It is dark - while the story is humorous and is iconic 1950s USA, it also has a realistic touch touch to it with respect to gangsterism, and racism. Even the aliens have a dark side, apart from the obvious. Even the main character has a dark side. It is deep - this isn't just about a bunch of folk fighting an alien threat - in fact the plot is secondary. This is about the main character. It is about a man's critical milestone in life where he has to assess his past and reconcile with it. The backdrop makes it just that more interesting.
I have found no fault with this piece. Lowy has worked hard to write an inspiring, hilarious, tear-inducing story, and the effort, including editing and proofing, polishes it until gleaming. The cover is also inspiring. Well done Louis! Well done IFWG Publishing. I think you have a winner here, and it deserves praise, perhaps even awards.
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Die Laughing by Louis K. Lowy (Paperback - 1 Aug 2011)