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Hijinks Ensue

Comedy SF recommendations wanted

I would like some recommendations for good comedy science fiction novels or short story anthologies that I haven't read.

This is what my book catalogue says I've already got:

mysql> select bookauthors.author,books.title from books,bookauthors where
books.genre='Comedy Science Fiction' and books.uid=bookauthors.uid group
by books.uid order by bookauthors.author,books.title;
| author          | title                                                             |
| Ben Elton       | Stark                                                             |
| Chris Howarth   | Red Dwarf Programme Guide                                         |
| David Garnett   | Stargonauts                                                       |
| Doug Naylor     | Last Human                                                        |
| Douglas Adams   | Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency                           |
| Douglas Adams   | Mostly Harmless                                                   |
| Douglas Adams   | The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy                               |
| Douglas Adams   | The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Omnibus                       |
| Douglas Adams   | The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul                                |
| Harry Harrison  | A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born                                     |
| Harry Harrison  | Bill, The Galactic Hero                                           |
| Harry Harrison  | Bill, The Galactic Hero... On The Planet Of Bottled Brains        |
| Harry Harrison  | Bill, The Galactic Hero... On The Planet Of Robot Slaves          |
| Harry Harrison  | Bill, The Galactic Hero... On The Planet Of Tasteless Pleasure    |
| Harry Harrison  | Bill, The Galactic Hero... On The Planet Of The Hippies From Hell |
| Harry Harrison  | Bill, The Galactic Hero... On The Planet Of Zombie Vampires       |
| Harry Harrison  | Bill, The Galactic Hero... The Final Incoherent Adventure         |
| Harry Harrison  | Star Smashers Of The Galaxy Rangers                               |
| Harry Harrison  | Technicolor Time Machine                                          |
| Harry Harrison  | The Stainless Steel Rat                                           |
| Harry Harrison  | The Stainless Steel Rat For President                             |
| Harry Harrison  | The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World                           |
| Harry Harrison  | The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You                                 |
| Harry Harrison  | The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge                                 |
| Neil Gaiman     | Don't Panic                                                       |
| Phil Janes      | Fission Impossible                                                |
| Phil Janes      | The Galaxy Game                                                   |
| Rob Grant       | Backwards                                                         |
| Rob Grant       | Colony                                                            |
| Rob Grant       | Red Dwarf Omnibus                                                 |
| Robert Rankin   | Apocalypso                                                        |
| Robert Rankin   | Armageddon The Musical                                            |
| Robert Rankin   | The Brentford Triangle                                            |
| Robert Rankin   | The Fandom of the Operator                                        |
| Robert Rankin   | The Greatest Show Off Earth                                       |
| Robert Rankin   | The Suburban Book Of The Dead                                     |
| Robert Rankin   | They Came And Ate Us                                              |
| Spider Robinson | Callahan's Crosstime Saloon                                       |
| Terry Jones     | Starship Titanic                                                  |
| Terry Pratchett | Only You Can Save Mankind                                         |
| Terry Pratchett | Strata                                                            |
| Terry Pratchett | The Dark Side Of The Sun                                          |
42 rows in set (0.01 sec)

I honestly didn't fix it to return 42 results ;)
I notice a couple of non-fiction books have crept in there, but I also have a couple on the shelf that I haven't entered into the database yet (the Salmon of Doubt and the Space Eater).


I'd suggest To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0553575384/026-1970372-5606805?v=glance&n=266239, though that is more of a gentle satire than an out-and-out comedy. I like the "Thursday Next" novels by Jasper Fforde, they start with The Eyre Affair, see http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/034073356X/026-1970372-5606805?v=glance&n=266239
Thanks, I liked Three Men in a Boat so To Say Nothing of the Dog sounds interesting. I don't think I've read any Jasper FForde yet.

Stanislaw Lem.
Robert Sheckley

That will keep you going for a few months.

Both authors have some duff works, but for different reasons. Otherwise they are brilliant.
I usually have a LOT of Robert Rankin novels going spare. (Duplicates picked up all over the place)

Also Langford's Leaky establishment is recommended (but I dont remember reading it myself).

I second Jasper Fforde

Some of Michael Marshal Smith *might* be considered SF comedy.
I have about 24 of Rankin's novels already but most of them tend to sit (to my judgement) towards the fantasy side of the grey area between SF and fantasy, and it's specifically comedy science fiction I'm looking for now. I'll track down The Leaky Establishment as I liked The Space Eater a lot.
OK, Sheckley and Lem both write SF comedy, but Sheckley has done a fair old amount of fantasy comedy too, and Lem has done a lot of serious stuff.
Can you recommend any of their works in particular? Both authors have been on my "must get around to investigating when I have the time" list for several years, but like most fans I already have a huge pile of books I've bought but not read yet.

The temperature's gone above 32C in the office: urgh.


'The Futorological Congress', 'The Star Diaries', and anything around Pirx the Pilot (as in 'tales of...'). All have genuine ideas, hard SF, humanity and genuine wit, and (like many soviet era writers) the political allegory is sufficiently veiled not to be damningly obtrusive; cf. 'Solaris', which I have not read although it might be funnier in print than on celluloid. The movie is more accesible that it sounds and funnier than you realise at the time [No intention of seeing the pointless Clooney remake.] in spite of the monochrome budget.

Re: Lem

I've seen the remake of Solaris but can remember almost nothing about it - that's usually a sign that it wasn't interesting. The original is on my Amazon DVD rental list, but so are fifty other DVDs and I only get through six a month.
Also Bob Shaw was a very funny man. Some of his SF novels are comedy.

You might also come across some of his serious scientific talks as a fan publication.
I think I have something of his in the aforementioned "to read" pile...
Try 'Next of Kin' by Eric Frank Russell. The first half of the book takes a bit long, but the second half if more than worth it in spite of its age.

It is still the most novel method of escaping from a prison camp that I have ever encountered in SF.
Thanks, just ordered a copy...
Hello! I am just stopping by. Have you read Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grill by Brust?


People either love it or hate it, but that's true of almost anything I have read...
No I haven't; I'll take a look.

I'm currently enjoying Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede by Bradley Denton.