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Next of Kin Paperback – Sep 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (Sept. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575072407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575072404
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 15.9 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 236 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,706,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Paperback
It has been several years since I have read "Next of Kin," but I have recommended it to every reader I know, whether they are fans of science fiction or not. Unless I am mistaken the story was written in 1954, long before manned space travel, and it is obvious by the description of the spacecraft and the perceptions of space travel. This does not in any way detract form the story, but in some way adds a bit to the humor. John Leeming is the main character. He is assigned to a remote area in outer space to act in some type of diplomatic capacity. But he is visited by misfortune and crash-lands on an alien planet which happens to be at war. Leeming finds himself imprisoned and labeled a spy. The story is a slow read until this point (approximately one full third to half of the book), but then the plot takes off into a wildly hilarious sprint that becomes increasingly more ingenious until the finale. Leeming has absolutely nothing at his disposal to aid in escape except for a block of wood and some copper wire that he strips from his prison bed, visual and audible observations from his cell window, and the most important element of all: superstitious and incredibly gullible captors. Leeming sets out on a journey of wit that convinces his jailers that invisible beings are poised to trample them into nothingness at his beckoned call, and that their enemies are "nuts" (a term that takes on a whole new world of meaning once you read the story).
This book is what all science fiction humor should be. The closest I have found are from the stories of Terry Pratchet's "Disk World" and related series', and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," although "Next of Kin" is far superior to them, at least as a stand-alone story. I HIGHLY recommend this story to any reader! It is thoroughly entertaining!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most of Eric Frank Russel's books have one thing in common, the quick witted humans outsmarting the dim-witted aliens. And this is no exception to the rule. While this may seem rather predictable and boring he always manages to avoid duplication. Each time the basic plot is worked out in a new and refreshing way.
Do not read this book if you want to read serious science giction or military science fiction. That is not what this book is about. It was written to tell a story that should not be taken seriuos and that leaves a smile on your face. And this is exactly what it does, and brilliantly so.
This time the aliens being outwitted are on the other side of an intergalactic war, and they have made the unfortunate mistake of capturing and imprisoning an earthling. But that was not their biggest mistake, the biggest mistake was teaching him their language. For once they learn to communicate their war is as good as lost.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Eric Frank Russell remains my favorite SF writer; the only one who could make me both laugh and cry. There's no crying in this book, based on the short story that to this day received the highest "anlab" rating ever recorded for a story published in Astounding/Analog magazine. Russell's unique voice came from a blending of British reserve and humor with American slang and culture, as if John Cleese had been signed to play Sam Spade. Though Russell's science was pure '50's and often suspect, you won't care as you giggle, then chuckle, and finally roar your way through this story...which was inspired by an actual incident involving an English prisoner-of-war confined in a Turkish jail. Here's a perfect example of a superb "cross-over" SF story that could be filmed on a modest budget...I keep seeing Mel Gibson in the title role.
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By A Customer on June 18 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So sad he died before Cliton. One of the best less known authors of his time -- and his insite is timeless. This book deals with one major character..what a character. Also I would recommend WASP as another fine book to read. He is also one of the best short story writers that I have ever read. He has been used in many compenium volumes. Highly reccomend you read Jay Score and Manna. Join me in my sorrow that he did not write more.
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