Monday, 13 January 2014

God Emperor of Didcot, Toby Frost [books]

The beefy, brainless, hapless hero of Space Captain Smith returns!

In God Emperor of Didcot the antlike, fascist Ghasts and their allies, the Edenite religious fundamentalists, have captured the planet of Didcot 4, otherwise known as Urn, where sixty percent of the British Space Empire's tea is grown. Drinking tea is essential to the production of moral fibre, which boosts the efficacy of combat troops. As the Empire is already fighting a war with the Ghasts on one front, Smith and his team (Predator-esque alien Suruk the Slayer and renegade sexbot-turned-pilot Polly Carveth) are sent in to sort things out and remove the puppet religious fanatic installed as planetary ruler. The hippie object of Smith's affections, Rhianna Mitchell, is already in place on Urn... disguised as a schoolgirl.

I really feel Frost gets into his stride with this book. I enjoyed Space Captain Smith, but God Emperor of Didcot flows more freely, and you get the sense that Frost has more faith in his humour and is therefore more playful. As before, many of the jokes are based around well-loved science fiction; a brief note about the gentle beetlefolk of Caldathro taking their revenge on the whooping yahoos from the Republic of Eden will raise a smile if you're familiar with Starship Troopers, while a classic Martian war-machine makes an appearance later. Frost also continues to have fun with Carveth at Blade Runner and Philip K Dick's expense.

'Morning, Carveth. Bad night?'
'I had that nightmare about the electric sheep again. Hardly slept.'

All in all, jolly good fun. If you've tried and enjoyed the first novel, you definitely won't be disappointed with this one.

3 comments :

  1. Sounds like my kind of book!

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  2. Hilarious! (We live in Didcot) I'll have to buy this for Himself I know it will tickle him.

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    1. Do you grow tea? ;-)

      It is a jolly good book. I don't often get time to reread as many books as I'd like, but I make time for these ones.

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