Thursday, December 22, 2011

Audiobook review: Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost

Music to my tympanic membrane. - Otto, Space Captain Smith

Space Captain Smith (2008) by Toby Frost
Series: First in the Chronicles of Isambard Smith series
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 7h 6m
Audio publisher: Iambik Audio, 2011
Read by: Clive Catterall

Story: In the 25th century, the British Space Empire is threatened by evil aliens. bungling Captain Isambard Smith is keen to be sent on his first mission, ferrying a secret envoy from the hippy colony of New Francisco. However, his ship is falling apart, his pilot is still reading the manual, and Smith doesn't seem to have any crew. With a stiff upper lip and plenty of tea, Space Captain Smith takes on androids, flying sharks, Martins, and headhunters in an effort to to fulfill his mission.

Thoughts: A pastiche of Hitchhikers Guide to the GalaxyStar WarsMoby DickBlade RunnerCasablancaWar of the Worlds, and many more, Space Captain Smith is a space farce like no other. While listening, I had to throw out all expectations and just go along for the ride. There are a lot of funny moments as Captain Smith races into the fray with no skill or forethought. Although I felt some parts tried a little too hard with body function jokes and innuendos. The story is set in the distant future, but the characters are taken from historical eras or books. Captain Smith is a purely Victorian explorer who gets off at the sight of an ankle, his friend is a headhunter alien in the vein of Queequeg from Moby Dick, the hippies of New Francisco are living in the 60's with sex and drugs, while the Martins are from HG Wells' War of the Worlds. The narration follows several of the characters as each pursues a different agenda, and the vastly different points of view add a lot of unexpected tangents to the story. My favorite was Rick Drecket who, in a send up of Blade Runner, tries to determine if his companion is an android. I'll be sure to try those questions on my next date.

Reading: Clive Catterall's smooth, limber voice was sent through its paces in Space Captain Smith, and he delivered. Each character was energetic and distinct. It sounded like he was having a lot of fun, and his enjoyment was infectious.

Final thoughts:  A space farce to out-farce the rest, Space Captain Smith has a lot of good sections loosely tied together.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

This audiobook was provided by Iambik Audio through the Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer program. 

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