Hal Spacejock Paperback – 30 Aug 2005
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A laugh a page and dryly witty: this is a book to be enjoyed over and over again. -- Joules Taylor, SFCrowsnest reviewer
Fast, funny, quirky, enthralling comedy adventure; not just a genre parody but a well-made story in its own right. -- Tom Holt, SF author
Funny, comically infectious and inventively casual. -- Robert Hood, author of Immaterial: Ghost Stories
From the Author
This is the first in a series of three novels featuring Hal Spacejock. Influences on my writing include the TV series Minder, PG Wodehouse's Jeeves & Wooster, William F. Temple's excellent Martin Magnus series and any other writers with a dry sense of humour. Understated is the way to go, and it's just tough luck if the reader misses a gag or two.
The next title, Hal Spacejock Second Course, will be available in April 2006, and the third, Hal Spacejock Just Desserts, in September 2006.
Top Customer Reviews
It's not bad and the author does show potential. It took a while to get going, initially I was slightly underwhelmed but by the end I discovered I had grown more fond of Hal and Clunk then I was expecting.
It's slapstick space humour with a daft cago pilot and a sidekick robot that is slightly less daft. Here they try to transport a dodgy cargo in a ship that is barely spaceworthy and mayhem is the order of the day.
So it grows on you and it does have some very nice moments. Not Douglas Adams yet though.
The main character has the right name but a seriously wrong attitude for his chosen career. A universe where machines do things so people don't have to, unless they want to. Hal Spacejock doesn't want to. But then he has to and discovers just how little he really knows.
Robots that have attitudes and cowardice. They have loyalties and prejudices too.
The bad guys are really bad, they positively drip with badness.
I read the book a few weeks ago, and it's taken me this long to realise how much I actually liked it. And I did like it. It's not a laugh out loud kind of book, the humour is too quirky for that, it's the kind of book that makes you smirk quietly behind your Kindle.
If sci-fi of late is leaving you a little jaded and fantasy with vampires has gotten a little too boring and samey, if some young rich guy getting it off on every page has annoyed you, then I can recommend this book to bring back the colour in your like.
In fact, I liked it so much that the second book is now on my must-buy list for next months salary.
I loved the rustbucket spaceship, the Black Gull. The description of the food aboard the space station had me in fits.
The story rockets along right from the start. Hal Spacejock leaves a trail of destruction everywhere he goes, with non-stop action all the way through.
I just loved the characters - Navcom, the spaceship computer with attitude, the brilliant and much put-upon Clunk and, of course, Hal Spacejock himself. Hal is hilariously stupid, doing whatever seems like a good idea at the time with no thought for consequences. He manages to survive far more by luck than judgement, and usually because he's saved at the last moment either by his ship's Navcom or by Clunk, his robot sidekick. The villains are convincingly unpleasant, greedy and ruthless.
I highlighted parts of this book that made me laugh out loud. By the end of the book I had 29 of them. The only other books I've read that made me laugh this much are Terry Pratchett's. This story does contain swearing so isn't suitable for younger readers. Simon Haynes is also writing a series for younger readers, though,"Hal Junior". I enjoyed Hal Spacejock so much that I bought a copy of that to review as well. I have also bought the next in the series to read just for fun. I'm a big fan of Red Dwarf so I'm not sure I'd agree with the blurb on the cover that says Hal Spacejock is better than Red Dwarf, but it's certainly up there alongside it.
Basic premise is that there's this thing called "space" and that chaps fly about in it in ships and such. Naturally, some of these chaps are down on their luck and still workin' for a livin', transportin' cargo and whatnot. Depressin' premise if you ask me but there you go and, anyway, the neat trick that this Simon Haynes fellow pulls off is to make one actually quite give a fig in re the fate of the central um, er - chappie, this "Hal" person.
Odd sort of trick since I thought that Mr Haynes only wrote those books on how to take domestic motor vehicles apart and put 'em back together again, but there you go.
Book's a fairly full-sized beastie (like the memsahiba these days) and the language is quite cheerful (and here we lose the similarities to "She-who" who now merely silently bares her teeth and points at food items with a fork). The book is absolutely suitable, for example, for handin' on to the senior below-stairs staff, if any of them read. There's nothing to raise an ecclesiastical eyebrow or support a blood and thunder sermon.
The plot - and there is indeed a plot, and a marvellous one at that - stumbles wonderfully on from disaster to disaster with only the key changing from major to minor and back again.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although the story was mildly amusing in parts, my overall opinion is that the second book would not be worth £3.11 and the series goes on and on and on ...Published 4 months ago by Richard
Weird and jocular but I love it all the same. Some of the punch lines had me laughing which is not normal in a SF story so yes I will recommend this tale for the humour and the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Jim37
This book was billed as a light comedy set in a future of robots and space travel.
I found it tedious and lacking in humour. Read more
Very easy to read. Well written and funny. Ideal to take on holiday or long journeys or those long airport waitsPublished on 9 Mar. 2014 by Roger Pryor
Dont even waste your time reading this, I could not even finish reading it that' how poor this book truly is...Published on 14 Feb. 2014 by thorne
Ok as a holiday read, not a lot of substance!! I buy a lot of books for my Kindle, some for bedtime reading, some for holiday and some proper literary books, this was ideal for the... Read morePublished on 12 Aug. 2013 by John Haydock