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3.6 out of 5 stars28
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2002
"Falling Sideways" is Tom Holt's 19th mainstream comic fantasy, following on from where his "Nothing But Blue Skies" left off: in Holt's very own, extremely unique vision of his pseudo-Britain, complete with clonemongers, frogspawn, and grounded-to-Earth gods. This time Holt decidedly goes all out in the premise department: "Falling Sideways" is dependent upon the countless, billowing convolutions creating by the plots; if they were none, this novel would fail in its objective. That, of course, to make people laugh. There are numerous laughs to be found here, of course; it's somewhat obligatory, when upon reading a Holt novel these days, you instantaneously bark at one of his dizzyingly creative, sometimes obscure, but always clever similes. But in "Falling Sideways", seemingly, he has gone too far in that department. You cannot turn a single page without being barraged by the complex, satiric and overwhelming little quips that Holt takes at anything within his eyeline. There are so multitudinous a number of potshots he has taken at the great institutions of History, that at some distant points within this almost-epic, it's difficult to find the comedy. Nonetheless, Holt always manages to entertain, and if it isn't with the sardonic little catchphrases he turns, it comes from his absurdly-drawn characterisations.
It just so happens David Perkins is a somewhat dull, uninspiring man...who is swept into a *magnum opus* of weirdness via his relationship with his long estranged familial members--but it's also due to the exceedingly large amount of telepathic, civilized, Universe-ruling frogs...but, then again, that's another story altogether. When David decides to do something wholly out of the nature of his character he cannot define why; until he is swept into the fold of cosmic bizarre that is Honest John, and *his* green gloop-infested clone-making vats. The questions come thick and with fury: Will David Perkins live? Will he get arrested? Will he get arrested again? Will he escape? Will the frogs take dominion of the world? What's with the white sugar and the dandruff? And what's this about occultist witches in modern day Britain...?
Unfortunately, Holt's "Falling Sideways" is so undeniably plump that practically one-hundred pages before the end, you may find yourself wondering why the obvious conclusion has been delayed. This is where Holt failed: in making his reasonably hilarious, and rather complicated novel an epic, when it could easily have been an average-sized, appreciable comic fantasy. *Meh* More's the pity.
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on 1 March 2005
I enjoyed this book as comic fantasy but the only criticism I have is that it's too long for the plot. At some points I had to go back and re-read bits to make sense out of the story.
I wouldn't read this as a first Tom Holt, try something easier like "Faust Among Equals".
I do enjoy Tom Holt's Books and I will be buying future books but I think a lot of people reading this as their first experience of his writing would not buy another.
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on 24 March 2002
I can't see how anyone could be slightly negative aboout this masterful show of how rompingly fantastical a writer can be, and in this novel,"Tom Holt," proves once again he is a true genius, the constant over the top similies keep you wishing for more, waky amd weird freaks to come out of the next twist. If you're in the worst mood imaginable, pick this book up and read son/girl, you can't help but love this romp of fantasy even if you're in a pschycotic kill everything and everyone mood.
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on 15 March 2006
I am a great fan of Tom Holt and his fantasy work but this one left me wanting for it to end! There are far to many twists and I had trouble working out who was who (not surprising considering that everyone in the book has a duplicate). I would suggest that everyone reads Tom's work but leave this one on the shelf, try his earlier books (Snow White and the Seven Samuri is better to follow and Expecting Someone Taller is fun) or the excellent J.W.Wells series starting with The Portable Door.
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on 20 June 2015
If only he had gone through and proofread it. It's incoherent to the point of being blethering. On one page the hero (for comic effect, one presumes) hasn't even heard of British Columbia, and a few silly pages later he knows all about the fact that it's in Canada.

Nothing is believable, and nothing makes any sense, and it reads as though Holt, having completely run out of inspiration, has pressed a "random plot twist" button on his computer and just incorporated.

Sorry, but if I hadn't picked it up from a charity shop I'd be seriously resenting the money I spent on it. As it is, I resent the time it took to read it. Fortunately it didn't take long, the writing style is not demanding. Just very, very irritating.
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on 5 June 2011
This is seriously laugh out loud funny stuff. Meet David Perkins - he's a completely useless nearly middle aged computer geek who has never so much as kissed a girl and his life gets worse from there. The amount of ridiculous, confusing and frankly unbelievable stuff that happens to this guy - that he just goes along with - is utterly insane. It all starts with David trying to clone a girl from a painting in the national gallary which he is in love with and it gets more ridiculous from there. Nevertheless it is extremely funny, there are lots of one liners and you do find yourself as confused and frustrated as David, trying and failing to work out what the heck is really going on... give it a go.
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on 13 February 2003
For fans of Tom Holt, this is another amusing ramble through his wacky imagination. My major criticism is that it's too long for the storyline material and unnecessarily convoluted. The story, despite being about gods and frogs and hyperspatial elevators, is disappointingly two dimensional. The main character just staggers from one seemingly disasterous situation to the next, but with little in the way of tension to make the reader wonder how he's going to get out of it. There is always the knowledge that he will by some miraculous and unlikely means stagger forward to the next disaster which awaits a couple of pages later.
I'll not deny that this is amusing and colourful, but it won't rate amongst my favourite books.
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on 6 November 2010
Pace Ansible, I can't help feeling that anybody who can write "Cheerful silliness in the characteristic Holt style" really isn't paying attention.

Holt is brilliant and addictive and like Pratchett he has the rare ability to be silly and bizarre and yet at the same time emotionally and philosophically serious, engaging and touching. But he's a rather depressing writer whose books usually end in quiet unhappiness, loss and some incurable misery for the protagonist - the failure of a love-affair they know they can never repair, being trapped forever in a place or a life they don't want to be etc etc. They are not books to read if you were hoping to cheer yourself up, and are at all sensitive to the story behind the jokes.
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on 26 March 2007
Quite funny book about cloning and frogs, which gets a bit incomprehensible towards the end. Holt's similes are quite good and current, reminds me of Jeremy Clarkson - and this is his market - your average 35 year old white middle class male. Touches on philosophy like freewill and existentialism, but gets too caught up in a silly sci-fi plot to have any lasting impression in that direction. You get the feeling he was in some book deal when he wrote this - ie the publishing company would accept any old rubbish story now he's proved he can sell. A simpler, yet more challenging plot would suffice - ditch the frog/alien idea, just cloning is enough of a plot to go on.
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on 29 April 2009
This was the first Tom Holt book i read, and i was gripped from beginning to end!

The other reviews have slated it as too long and complicated but i have to say i think it would have detracted from the story if it had been any shorter, although that's not to say i didn't have to go back and re-read large chunks of it because it does all get rather confusing.

The main character and his crushing inadequacy is both hilarious and true to life and i do find it reminiscent of David Mitchell in Peep Show.

a comforting read when you're feeling a bit down as a reminder that it could always be worse...

at least you haven't been arrested and abducted by frogs!
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