9780375403408 / 037540340X

The Road to Mars: A Post-Modem Novel





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About the book:

As a Python, Eric Idle will always have a special place in our hearts and as a working element in the world's funniest-ever group he clearly has some sense of the way comedy works. Now he has written a suitably weird novel, set in space in the 22nd Century and concerning two stand-up comics; a new genre, in fact; the SF Stand-Up. Alex and Lewis are the two funny men, struggling around the space resorts of the future telling bad jokes; their story is told by an embittered narrator writing a few hundred years later. This is a novel that needs to be read right: read it expecting it to be funny and you'll find yourself puzzled by the fact that it isn't, very. The jokes, like those told by Fozzie Bear on the Muppet Show, are just not very good ("'Ars est celare artem,' said Carlton. 'It's Latin'. 'You from Latin America?' asked the chorus girl.") But read it expecting an ingenious series of inquiries, almost philosophical in their depth, into what comedy actually is and it will surprise and perhaps even educate you. There are some fascinating theories about humour, culminating in the proposition that after the Big Bang not gravity but levity--which is to say, comedy--has been the underlying principle of the whole universe. The often bitter narratorial tone, like an especially irascible Kurt Vonnegut, sometimes grates, but there's a genuine level of thought in this intriguing piece of fiction. --Adam Roberts

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