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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lust in Space
Space Captain Smith - Toby Frost

Isambard Smith wants to be a space captain in the second British Empire, and battle the evil Ghast, giant ant-like creatures, and the religious fanatics of the Republic of New Eden. Instead he gets to pilot the John Pym, a damaged and weary freighter, on a mission to pick up Rhianna Mitchell, a new age hippy, from the laid back...
Published on 14 July 2009 by Mortallis

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Space Slapstick
One reviewer mentioned that this was like mixing Hitchhikers with Flashman, I loved both and liked the concept, it was neither, I was left a little disappointed I really wanted to like this book (still got two more to read) but I found some of the humour a little childish, though I did get a few chuckles out of some of the more original jokes.

I'm hoping the...
Published 13 days ago by geoff


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lust in Space, 14 July 2009
This review is from: Space Captain Smith (Paperback)
Space Captain Smith - Toby Frost

Isambard Smith wants to be a space captain in the second British Empire, and battle the evil Ghast, giant ant-like creatures, and the religious fanatics of the Republic of New Eden. Instead he gets to pilot the John Pym, a damaged and weary freighter, on a mission to pick up Rhianna Mitchell, a new age hippy, from the laid back New Francisco territories and bring her back to the Empire.

His bold crew consists of an android pilot, Pollyanna Carvath, who is actually a sex toy on the run from her perverted owner, along with Gerald - her pet hamster, and Isambard's best friend Surak, an alien whose idea of a good holiday is sun, sea and slaughter.

They are pursued on their voyage by Ghast and New Edeners intent on stopping them and getting hold of Rhianna, and an android assassin called Dreckitt, assigned to terminate Polly. They face void sharks, attracted by the scent of rust of the ship, crash land on Paradis, which isn't quite as paradisical is it might appear, encounter 462 of the Ghast and Captain Gilead of New Eden and discover exactly why Rhianna is so - different.

This book actually made me laugh out loud in places. The humour is very similar to that of Hitch Hiker's Guide and may not appeal to everyone, but if you know what a Haynes manual is and understand that a cup of tea counts as foreplay in some parts of the universe, then you might enjoy this book. A nicely written, easy read that has left me really wanting to get into the second book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More tea Captain?, 2 Mar 2010
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If you took the writers of Red Dwarf, The Hitchiker's guide to the galaxy and Terry Pratchett, put them all in a pot and melded them together, you would almost certainly be arrested. If you however took bits of their writing styles and blended them together in a weird Victorian/ sc-fi space soap opera you may end up with a book something like this one.

Meet Isambard Smith. A fleet officer for the British space Empire. He is rabidly patriotic, heroic, paranoid about foreigners (especially ones who want to turn him into a nutri-shake) and utterly fearless apart from social situations with pretty girls. If you asked an American to draw a stereotypical Englishman Smith would be it, complete with a handlebar moustache and a deep seated love of tea and cricket.

Despite his aforementioned mistrust of anyone not from good old Blighty his best friend is, for reasons never explained, a seven foot tall greenish grey 'predator' type creature.

The book is really a journey of gentle and affectionate parody of all our best loved sc-fi stories. Predator, The Matrix, I Robot, Blade Runner, Total Recall and strangely A clockwork Orange? all feature.

The book does have one or two flaws that can be easily forgiven as this is a debut book. Firstly Carveth (the escaped synthetic person/sex toy) and Smith take a while to settle down and find a consistant personality. Also the book does at times get a bit contrived to allow a particularly witty one liner in, which sometimes was worth it but at others only caused me to groan.

But this is a good opening to the series and is the kind of book I worshipped as a teenager, when laughs were far more important to me than drama.

In summary, an amusing easy to read book, with a very cool cover, ideal for a beach holiday.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Ride, 23 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Space Captain Smith (Paperback)
Space Captain Smith is a difficult book to categorise. Sci-fi would seem an obvious starting place but to pigeonhole it there would be to understate its broader comic significance. This well told tale of derring-do in the 25th century British Space Empire captures, encapsulates and then sends-up everything it has ever meant to be British, from stiff upper lip to rough serge uniforms, from bounders to blunders, from well-trimmed moustaches to Tiffin and tea. If you ever wondered what made Britain great, Captain Isambard Smith will only increase your uncertainty.

Frost's excellent prose takes us on a Hitchhikers' Trek to the Red Dwarf Matrix by way of Dan Dare with a soupcon of Dad's Army. Nothing is quite as it seems, which is probably just as well. Like one of those bizarre dreams following a heavy session sometimes where you are and the characters you're meeting seem vaguely - unnervingly - familiar.

The author has a thorough knowledge of sci-fi and many other genres so you can enjoy playing spot-the-reference without detracting from the serious pleasure of the read. Smith is a gem and the other main characters: a runaway sex-bot turned pilot who relies on the Haynes manual to fly, a homicidal skull-collecting alien (Smith's best buddy) and a new-age flibety-gibbet girl passenger, are all drawn to perfection. The baddies are boo-hiss-able, the jokes frequent and the action scenes memorable.

Toby Frost proves once and for all that innuendo is a legitimate weapon in the literary arsenal and not simply an Italian word for suppository.

Space Captain Smith is a book to savour on a holiday flight or any time at all. I guarantee you'll queue for the sequel when it's published later this year. My money says a film will not be far behind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aliens, robots and a nice cup of tea, 8 July 2011
By 
Ms. E. A. Pearson "Ezzy" (Londonish) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Space Captain Smith (Paperback)
A wonderfully amusing novel about the trials and tribulations of a gentleman with the sensibilities of a Victorian officer just trying to get on with things without Johnny Foreigner interfering... only Johnny is a giant cannibalistic alien ant man bent on domination of the universe. Not only has Frost managed to create a wonderful universe that is strangely familiar whilst also being completely mad, but also a set of characters you will learn to love as you follow their adventures, hoping that they not only save the day and get the girl but the gingernut buscuits aswell. If you're a fan of Pratchette, Douglas Adams or taking a familiar look at the bizzare then I highly recommend this book with a nice cup of tea, a slice of Victoria sponge and your phasers set to stun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Topping Good Show, 2 Feb 2013
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Where do you begin to review a book like this? It's so much more than it appears!

On the most basic level it is a rip-roaring Science Fiction adventure that set a small crew on a rather small space ship against invading alien armies and evil human factions. But as I say that is the most basic level.

Not that I am overly familiar with the genre, but I would add the term steampunk to the mix. The descriptions of the workings of the spaceship give me that old world feel, and the whole thing, despite being set in the 26th Century seems to have an early Victorian feel.

But perhaps the most important thing, the most obvious thing about Space Captain Smith is that it is funny. In fact, not just funny but FUNNY. This is a book that knows what it wants to do and does not hold back. It hits you around the jowls with a laughing stick and does not let up until you finish. It's not something you read for a few pages and wait for the next laugh to come, the next laugh is backing into the one before, causing a pile-up of humour that is an unexpected delight.

And it is not just one type of humour, I cannot even quantify the different types used, but it ranges from subtle sly comments that make you nod knowingly, a subtle wink, followed by a comment that can only lead to a belly laugh. There are smutty references, innuendos, in your face, subtle, satire, pastiche - there is a running plot lifted from Blade Runner that could be called a highlight of the book, only the whole novel is a highlight.

This future where Earth has spread into space, diversified into different sub-types of humanity is reminiscent of Gordon R Dickson's Dorsai novels; but taken in different directions. Whatever wars and events have happened that have caused this seem to have either reset the British back to the time of Empire, or an alternative reality where it never fell. Whatever it might be it is a minefield for nonstop laughs.

And don't even get me started on the Aliens the Ghast - just another brilliant creation that works...

In with all this there is some nice observations too. There is a moment when aliens we see as barbaric discuss humanity and we see things from the opposite angle. It is only a line or two but an eye opener.

I could go on and on about how entertaining Frost's debut is, but the fact that I read it in under a week should be all you need to know - especially when you study my recent reading pace.

Go on, read it. If you need a distraction, if you want a laugh, this one should do it for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a fun read., 4 Dec 2012
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The book was recommended to me by someone, and as I have only recently started to read Steampunk, she thought that I might like this. Does that person no me or not? Hopefully we'll see.

We were introduced to the main character 'Captain Smith' straight away, a very stereotypical British officer of the Empire Age and his situation. The story moved along at a good pace and stayed this way until the end, it definitely had the feel of a comic farce, an amalgamation of a variety of Space comedies which we have all seen.
Even though the pace was steady, I didn't immediately take to the Captain, he came across quite wooden & hard to like. Thankfully I stayed the course as being a debut novel there was bound to be a few hiccups, and mainly I think that the Author was trying too hard.

Once I had read a couple of chapters though I was able to get a feel for the story, and with the pace being constant I actually started to thoroughly enjoy it. Yes a lot of the characters & situations reminded me of Red Dwarf or actually more like Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, but that is definitely not a bad thing.

I'm sorry that I am unable to give a more in depth review, but the book doesn't really need it. It is enough to say that the main characters do make a good team eventually, the interplay between them becomes stronger as you would expect, the storyline is suitably strange & wacky, the universe in which we find them is equally as strange, and how they deal with things is stranger still.

After an initial slow start I actually couldn't put the book down, it took me back to earlier time in my life and I enjoyed the book for what it is, a well written humorous romp through space. I needed cheering up and this fit the bill perfectly, so much so that I have purchased the next two escapades, but I am leaving these until I need a bit of cheering up & for that I would recommend this book especially if you enjoy the humour of the shows stated above.
Now I can safely say that the person that recommended this book does know what I like, so thank you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another 'must read' for me, 31 Oct 2010
By 
Dr. D. R. Purchase (Belfast, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Space Captain Smith (Paperback)
Huzzah for Space Captain Smith! I had great hopes for this series, which may explain why I was slightly unsure for the first couple of chapters. Initially I was slightly worried that it was going to be a bit amateur or immature but then it just clicked. And I haven't looked back since. I loved the book and as soon as I finished, I couldn't wait to start the next in the series (which is even better). If I have any criticisms it's that it perhaps tries to squeeze too many sci-fi spoofs into one book (what will be left for the other books) but they are done with such good humour that it never becomes a problem. Anyway, to conclude, the idea is wonderful, the cast loveable, the story a good intro to the series, and I highly recommend it. Especially if, like me, you enjoy your British history and your Sci-fi. Pip pip.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ripping Yarns in the British Space Empire, 22 July 2009
This review is from: Space Captain Smith (Paperback)
You might call Isambard Smith the Anti-Flashman, though the covers at first seem similar. But look closely at that cover. Does Smith have a scantly clad woman draped around his leg? No, he's got a dead body at his feet. Proper.

The Space Captain Smith series is set in a future where the British Empire has risen once more, and with it an aesthetic throwback to late colonial England. The architecture is New Gothic, ships are designed with brasswork cogs and levers, and while the computers have normal displays, numbers are often displayed with rotating dials and a handy ticker-tape that prints out relevant information.

Smith is about as different to Flashman as you can get. He's not a womanizer, a coward, or a bully for one (well, three) thing(s). About the only thing they have in common is a decent mustache. But Smith isn't a larger than life hero without flaws. Outside of a good fight he's downright awkward, especially around members of the opposite sex. But he also embodies everything we're meant to see in the British Space Empire - noble and refined, with its citizens carrying a stiff upper lip and not dealing with things like "feelings" in public. Dreadnought Diplomacy is alive and well. When one speaks of "civilizing" an alien culture, it refers to how the iron fist is used if talking sensibly to the silly buggers didn't work.

Smith's long time friend is a Morlock (or M'Lak) called Suruk the Slayer (Doom Purveyor, Son of Agshad Nine-Swords, Grandson of Urgar the Miffed). The M'Lak look vaguely like a thin version of the Predator but their personality better fits the "noble savage" archetype from classic adventure literature like King Solomon's Mines.

To act as a foil to Smith and Suruk are two women: Pollyanna Carveth, a fugitive sex toy masquerading as the ship's pilot, and Rhianna Mitchell, a New-New Age hippie herbalist from the American Free States (think California). Despite the fact she is so unlike Smith - or perhaps because of it - he can't help but fall head over heals for Rhianna, nor can he help but blow almost every opportunity he has to score with her.

Like Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, parody and satire infuses much of the novels. Frost pokes fun at the Martians from H.G. Wells, the trenchcoats and sunglasses in The Matrix, and everything in between. While these parodies sometimes stick out as a little obvious in the first novel, by the second Frost has found his rhythm and the references are more seamlessly interwoven with the narrative.

Unlike Pratchett, which generally has the heroes avoid lethal violence unless absolutely necessary, the Smith books are almost gleefully violent and action packed. It's not as deep or philosophical as Pratchett, but then it's not meant to be. It's a ripping yarn, and it delivers both on the action front and the comedy. While Pratchett always puts a smile on my face, he rarely makes me laugh out loud. Frost on the other hand has me burst out frequently.

The backdrop for the Smith books is that of impending war. The Empire on the cusp of invasion by a genocidal ant-like species known as the Ghast. These fanatical minions and their ruthless leaders seek only the death of all humans, and that's not just human propaganda. In fact, the Ghast's own World War Two style propaganda posters makes their goal abundantly clear, as no doubt do their cookbooks.

But not all of the danger in the universe comes from aliens. The Democratic Republic of New Eden, a small militant group of colonies that broke away after the fall of the Empire of Man, is pretty much none of the things its name describes. It is neither democratic nor a republic, and its territory could hardly be considered an Eden given that it's ideals are about as old as you can get without bashing rocks together. Edenites represent the worst we have to offer - sexist, racist, intolerant religious fanatics whose beliefs incorporates a mishmash of all the various hate-smite-everything-beard-wearing versions from Earth's history.

Plot wise Space Captain Smith deals with Isambard and his crew trying to escort Rhianna from the United Free States space station New Francisco into British Empire territory, and the Ghast want to capture her at any cost. In the process they have to escape the clutches of a Ghast battleship, hide on a planet recently conquered by New Eden and then free it in order to escape. To add to their problems a universe-weary android assassin (who dreams of electric sheep) is trying to track down and terminate their pilot Polly.

You can be assured of lots of laughs, tons of movie and book references, awkward romance, and a jolly good kick up old Gertie's backside. I'm particularly impressed how Frost has avoided the temptation of making the battles like an episode of G.I. Joe (where lots of shots are fired yet nobody gets hurt) just because it's a comedy.

I'm looking forward to more from this ongoing series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for sci-fi fans, 26 May 2008
By 
Dani (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Space Captain Smith (Paperback)
This is a good sci-fi debut novel. It has plenty of laughs but they do not distract from the plot. It is hard to compare it to other works as the author has his own unique style and he does not draw heavily from any one influence. It is a great read and I would recommend it. At the back of the book there is mention of a forthcoming second book in the series and I look forward to Smith's adventures continuing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blimey another smasher what!, 21 July 2012
By 
I. Baxter "the wingnut" (lincs uk) - See all my reviews
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Product arrived on time,in good nick, and reasonably priced. I've now bought the complete set (although out of sequence). You can read them in any order,and I loved all three of them.Theyr'e a glorious send-up of various genres especially SF,(think Sir Tell does Flashman carrying on up the Khyber in space)and we want MORE! They could be a bit more polished in various ways, but give the lad time, he's doing fine.
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Space Captain Smith
Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost (Paperback - 6 May 2008)
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