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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny But Definitely Not A Spoof, 25 Jun. 2009
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C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the third in Toby Frost's series of Space Captain Smith's comic adventures and maintains the high standards set by the two previous volumes. Unlike many 'comic novels' 'Wrath of the Lemming Men' (WotLM) is genuinely, laugh out loud funny. More importantly it is also clever, erudite and at times pretty exciting.

Toby Frost has again pulled off the difficuly trick of writing a book that pokes fun at numerous targets but never slips into outright parody or spoof. WotLM may take the mickey out of or send up subjects as diverse as Star Wars, Starship Troopers, any World War II movie made between 1946 and 1970, the Mitford Sisters (seriously), Predator and the Archers (yes, really) to name but a few, but all the jokes stem from and fit seemlessly into the book's plot. Nothing feels tacked on for the sake of it or wildly out of context. This isn't the literary equivalent of the Airplane movies or a Mel Brooks film. The universe Captain Smith and his friends move in may be ridiculous but it also makes logical, albeit often hilarious, sense.

This allows Frost to include some pretty decent action sequences (although he never forgets to chuck in a few gags here and there), plus some actual characterisation. Smith and his chums aren't simply gag machines. Smith, for all his outward priggishness and prudishness, is actually rather brave and competent and Carveth, the sex-android-turned-pilot, is rather endearing. Even Suruk, Smith's homicidal alien friend and Rhihanna, his hippyish love interest, have been given some additional depth over the course of three books.

The only area where WotLM doesn't quite measure up to the two previous books is the plot. The fact that there is an actual, proper plot rather that a string of gags is grounds for congratulation. Its just a pity that its so jumbled. At times during the book's middle section I actually found myself getting momentarily lost here and there as the narrative jumped at high speed from place to place. Its possible that Toby Frost has tried to cram too many ideas into WotLM and some of his flights of fancy could have been saved for future books.

Its a minor complaint however, and overall I would highly recommend WotLM to anyone who enjoys having their funny bone tickled. You don't even have to be a sci-fi fan to get most of the jokes
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No reduction in quality, 5 July 2009
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I'm pleased to say that Toby Frost shows no signs of waning powers in the third of his hilarious 'British Space Empire' novels. Sure, it's not quite as funny as 'God Emperor of Didcot', and there's the odd loose end, but then again, how many books are as funny as 'God Emperor of Didcot'?

What I liked about this one was that the author seemed to be getting into his characters more. Particularly Carveth, the sex-bot turned cowardly pilot / engineer, who is given a lot more coverage (which is good, because I've been fond of her since book one), with a number of scenes all of her own, including a hilarious confrontation with a Jane Austen-bot who has a thing for men in uniform. Also, Suruk the Slayer is becoming much more developed: now he's a full blown, three dimensional psychopath. And all the old favourites, like W and the insane commandos. Even 462 is becoming slightly less dislikable.

But of course, there are the wonderful jokes. The Yull (aka the Lemming Men of the title) have gods whose names are a hoot. We learn that Suruk's ancestors faked evidence to make it look as if they had built the pyramids so as to confuse foolish Earth-people. And we're told where the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs really came from. And there's always Tar'kha the Death Otter.

Anyway, what are you waiting for: buy it, and let's hope number four is as good.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even More Ripping Yarns in the British Space Empire, 22 July 2009
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 standing victorious over a dead foe. Proper.

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 her, 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.

The 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.

Wrath of the Lemming Men starts off with the death of Suruk's father by Colonel Vock of the Yull, a race of rodent warriors that incorporate everything suicidal about warrior cultures in history (there is as much World War I general in them as Kamakazi pilot). The Ghast have made an alliance with the Yull, and Colonel Vock, disgraced in battle, has been assigned to Ghast 462 to try and capture the mystical Vorl for their genetic experiments. Smith and his crew have to stop them, but to do so they have to figure out what the hell is going on first, which takes them in and out of several dangerous locations.

In all the Space Captain Smith novels 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 also reviewed the first and second books in this series, Space Captain Smith, and God Emperor of Didcot, so there is some overlap here)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jolly good show, 30 Jun. 2009
By 
Iain McClumpha (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I have been waiting for this since November (it was trailed in "God Emperor of Didcot") and the wait has been worth it.

Smith and his chums are once again in the thick of things as the evil Ghasts and their suicidal allies the Yull attempt to create the ultimate Ghast soldier.

The characters are becoming more and more real as each book goes by - so much so that Polly Carveth has now burnt herself into my brain - a sex-a-droid turned pilot, always afraid, but always manages to somehow pull through.
Smith is becoming a true hero, even if he is a bit dim at times.
Suruk tke Slayer is becoming funnier... and Rhianna? Well she's always been weird.
Ghast commander 462 is a truly hissable villain, and with each encounter he has with Smith seems to result in yet another injury.
And new villain, Yull General Vock - fantastically well written.

Toby Frost has to be the finest writer of genre comedy out there, and these books deserve to be million sellers and win him some kind of reward.
Come on BBC, adapt this into a series... it is just crying out for some sort of screen version - just don't let Hollywood get their mits on it.

Well done Toby... now, give us another!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Space Captain Smith story yet, 20 Oct. 2010
By 
Manly Reading (Brisbane, QLD, AUST) - See all my reviews
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Wrath of the Lemming-men is the third, and currently final, volume in the adventures of Isambard Smith, hero of the British Space Empire. Once again there is action, humour and evil villians to overcome. Colonel Gilead has been replaced by General Vock, a disgraced leader of the lemming men who has a blood feud with Surok the Slayer: only by killing Surok can he regain honour in the eyes of his peace-loving war-god Popacapinyo. 462 is still his red-arsed self, but there is also the nefarious 8 for Smith to deal with.

After his romantic success in God Emporer of Didcot, Smith has now broken up with Rhianna, and is even more repressed as a result. Can he win her back? Does he even want to? Will Polly Carveth find love of her own? Why did the Ghasts give up on females and move to genetic engineering? All these questions, and more, may be answered if you read the book.

Don't even bother counting the literary influences here: to be blunt, if it exists, Toby Frost has ripped it off, and done so superbly. World of Warcraft, Doctor Who, Thomas the Tank Engine...you name it.

This is pure fun to read: Smith is a perfect everyman action hero, brave, bold, and none too bright. If you can't enjoy this book - if it does not cheer you up and make you laugh out loud - then I pity the shrivelled excuse for a heart that beats in your sunken chest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait, 29 Jun. 2009
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For some reason, this novel, the third in the series of Isambard Smith adventures, seemed to be delayed. However, once I got my hands on it I knew it was worth the wait, and once again I laughed like a drain and thrilled along with the busy adventure.
Mr Frost is a seriously talented wordsmith tipping his hat to all sorts of sources and influences in the most enjoyable nudge nudge wink wink kind of way.
He is, for my money, the funniest sci fi author since Douglas Adams. There is no competition.
Oh and after 3 books, I now seriously want to marry Polly Carveth!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The British Empire Never Went Away, 4 July 2010
By 
M. G. Chisholm "chiefengineer3" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Toby Frost is a bit of a find, in all honesty. Here we have an author who has wit, writing skill and the knack of creating a great story.

Firstly, the bottom line is that this is a good read. It may be many things but it has a good story, is well written and I found myself really wanting to read it. Regardless of the humour and the irreverence, it stands up for itself as a book to be read from front to back and at times has one turning the pages with excitement.

Secondly, it is really funny. Some more famous humorous authors have diverted from that path, but Mr. Frost has firmly grasped that particular nettle and is solidly at the top of the absurd observational humour pile. Yes, it is a science fiction based universe, but that's not the point - Toby Frost has created some great characters and imbues them with some of the funniest set of one liners without diverting from the plot that I've ever read. Seriously, how many so called funny books can make you laugh out loud? No many I'll bet.

The humour is most certainly British. Its depreciating, ridiculous and bawdy at times. Its a wonderful amalgam of Carry On, Black Adder and Only Fools and Horses. But in space. We have an uptight British hero in the Victorian mold, a psychotic alien friend who is modeled on a Predator/Alien I suspect, a female android sex bot who escaped and is the pilot and an unlikely alien/human hippy. Its brilliantly daft.

Anyway without giving much away this is the third in the series of Space Captain Smith and whilst probably better to read in order is not completely necessary. In this story Captain Smith is trying to defeat an alien hoard of hamster like warriors hell bent on the destruction of the human race. Its all great fun and maintains the excellent standards set by the first two books.

Overall I don't think that there is a better humorous author who works in the sci-fi or fantasy genres right now. If you buy this kind of book then Toby Frost will become your next favourite author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another great space adventure!, 6 Aug. 2009
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Now Smith and his crew must defend the Empire and civilise the stuffing out of a horde of bloodthirsty lemming-men- which would be easy were it not for a sinister robotics company, a Ghast general with a fondness for genetic engineering and an ancient brotherhood of Morris Dancers- who may yet hold the key to victory...

I stumbled across Space Captain Smith and God Emperor of Didcot last year and enjoyed them so much all I can do is recommend them to anyone that will listen, whether they like sci-fi or not. Toby Frost managed to write not only a laugh-out-loud space romp, but one that holds up well enough if you take all the humour away and start looking at the back bone of the stories - the world he has created. It just works so well and because of the fun I had with the first two novels Wrath of the Lemming Men was pretty much my most anticipated book of the year and the sooner I could get it through the letterbox the better. Not only did it meet my expectations, but once again Toby is expanding more and more from the base he set up in Space Captain Smith.

What I enjoyed most about Wrath of the Lemming Men was the fact that we're now on the third novel and following the crew of the John Pym again through their adventures. I know this sounds simple - and it is - but I feel that when I start reading these characters I'm not only whole heartedly enjoying reading about them, but I'm also running through my mind just what they'll say and do in the situation they're in. I feel at home when they come on page - Smith, Carveth, Suruk, Rhianna, they all feel like old friends now.

The bad guys are as bad and awful as ever with Ghast Commander 462 and his evil plots and the Yullian General Vock, one of the Lemming-Men of the title. The bad guys are what brings the novel together and the on page interaction between these two totally different aliens is great. Toby has really hit the nail on the head with the characters and despite the many humorous and tongue-in-cheek moments, he makes them feel like a threat, which is great for our tea-drinking heroes!

The world building this time around seems to have got better, and with two previous books now supporting the universe it's evident that Toby has taken a little extra time to develop it further. Yes, the jokes and parodies are present in droves, but they fit in to this excellent setting and although it can make it feel light hearted, it also brings a little more depth to the novel.

In the story itself we follow Smith and his crew from planet to planet on the hunt for the Vorl before the Ghast find them. Not only that, but the Yull have joined the battle and want nothing more than to kill all humans, at least when not tempted to jump off cliffs. The story flows well and although a little jumpy, it flies by at such a pace that it doesn't leave too much down time. However, the slower sections help to show the strengths that Toby has at creating a fairly believable universe. But ultimately, the fun doesn't stop for too long and we get a great and well rounded tale of adventure.

At the end of the day I could go on about how great Wrath of the Lemming Men is and how much I love the Space Captain Smith books, but I'm sure that would get more than a little annoying no matter how true it is. If you've not yet read any of the Space Captain Smith books then you're not only missing out on a good read, but a great cast of characters and some of the most humorous writing I've come across in quite a while.

Go out, buy the book, kick your feet up with some tea and biscuits and enjoy yourself a damned good read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars None, 28 July 2012
This review is from: Wrath of the Lemming-men (Space Captain Smith Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
I have re~read all three a number of times and I keep checking to see if there is a fourth one available. Blow the Olympics for a mirror on the psyche of Britain past and present. If you want Carry on up the Khyber in space washed through with stupid in jokes and charcterisation from [space] movietone news and the most ridiculous puns these are the books for you. Just remember it is difficult to explain to people why you are laughing so much on public transport. Chop chop Frost! Where is number 4?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps getting better, hoping for a fourth book..., 19 Nov. 2010
By 
Dr. D. R. Purchase (Belfast, UK) - See all my reviews
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I've reviewed the previous two in the series so won't say too much. Suffice to say reader and writer have settled into the characters and so I enjoyed this even more than the previous two, which I loved. My only regret is that I haven't found any sign of a fourth book. Fingers crossed. PS if you haven't seen them yet, check out the adverts on YouTube, especially the public information film about tea from the second book.
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