Science fiction and fantasy                                            


by Rob Grant


This is brought to us by one half of the team that gave us Red Dwarf. That`s bound to raise a few expectations. For one, you might expect it to be funny. Secondly, wierd stuff should happen. And for desserts, men should be sad pathetic losers and women gorgeous, efficient and unattainable.

Eddie O'Hare is being pursued by evil men who are trying to kill him. A computer stole two and a quarter million, which has disappeared without trace, and the trail leads directly to him. Meanwhile Charles Gordon has a place on the Project. This is a generation starship packed with humanity's elite. Global warming and pollution are ruining the Earth and the Project is seen as the best hope for the survival of the human race.

But Gordon wins a great deal of money in a casino, and changes his mind about spending the rest of his natural life cooped up in a spaceship. So Gordon offers Eddie his place on the Project, planning to double cross him as soon as the ship is too far away to return.

Eddie must conceal his identity and pretend to hold values he despises. He is wondering how long he can keep up the act when there is an accident. When he comes round a few centuries have passed and he is minus quite a lot of body parts.

The ship has changed dramatically and appears to be falling to pieces. The inbred inhabitants have forgotten how to read, and believe him to be Dr Morton. Eddie has to put on a whole new act to avoid discovery. To make matters worse the ship is on a collision course with a gas giant, and a psychopath is trying to kill him.

The blurb on the jacket promises comedy: "A generation-spanning epic saga of treachery, revenge and fluorescent pink socks."

It is funny, but not in a laugh-out-loud way, it's more of an inner cheesy grin. It's hard not to compare this to Red Dwarf, particularly as the territory is so similar. In that respect Rob Grant has not changed direction, sticking with the genre and style he is known for. But here there are far fewer jokes.

There is plenty of action however, and the fast pace is maintained throughout. As you might imagine there's nothing too technical involved, it`s all very light and easily understood. The main character, Eddie, is the very opposite of a hero, neither a thinker or a doer and often a bit of a wimp. He's interesting enough to stay with, but not high on my list of great fictional characters.

What really lets this book down is the ending. Matters are sorted out too quickly and easily in the final chapter. Elements are brought in that haven't been introduced in the rest of the book, which is a case of the author cheating readers by not giving them a fair chance to guess how it would end. I can't say any more because I don't want to give away what happens. I also felt that more should have been written to explain how the characters coped with this ending.

The book is about as deep as a puddle and not terribly satisfying. But it`s entertaining and could fill a few bored hours quite well. And it might help, if you are unfortunate enough to live with your head immersed in green gloopy snot.

Book Details

Year: 2001

Categories: Books

  Science fiction
  Male Protagonist  

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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson


Glyn Powell     16th November, 2004 15:45pm

I have the audio book version and have listen to it time and time again in the car on those mind numbing trips up and down the M4...Bloody excellent in my opinion !!!

Kristian Larsson     9th December, 2006 16:14pm

Best book ever!
I want Rik Mayall as Eddie O'Hare when this book is made into a movie.