RATS, THE BATS & THE UGLY Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 2006
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Another zany tale of the planet Harmony & Reason, which is somewhat short of both at the moment, thanks to its hierarchical society and the invasion of the alien Korozhet. The victorious, vat-cloned Corporal Chip Connelly and his love, the Shareholder heiress Virginia ("Ginny") Shaw, return to Bernard Shaw City and a welcome very different from what they expected. The authorities want to preserve the hierarchy by executing Chip and kidnapping Ginny. Fortunately, the uplifted (i.e., intelligent) bats and rats are on the job, complete with accents, and so are a good many lawyers. In fact, the book's complex legal scenario may occasionally come between readers and the fullest enjoyment of the book, which isn't as fast-paced as Rats, Bats & Vats (2000). Not that it will disappoint anyone, especially given an ending that leads one to suspect that Ginny will have to get out her chain saw for the battles of a third volume. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Eric Flint is a popular new star of SF and fantasy. His latest novel in his popular alternate history series, 1634: The Galileo Affair (with Andrew Dennis) was a New York Times best seller. His first novel for Baen, Mother of Demons, was picked by SF Chronicle as a best novel of the year. His 1632, which launched the major alternate history series, sold out in hardcover almost immediately, followed by multiple printings in paperback. He currently resides in northwest Indiana with his wife Lucille.
Dave Freer, author of The Forlorn and A Mankind Witch (both Baen) and of many articles in scientific journals, is an expert on sharks, an accomplished rock-climber, a wine-taster, and was an unwilling conscript in the "undeclared" South African-Angolan war. He lives in Natal, South Africa with his wife Barbara, two sons, and several Old English sheepdogs.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book, however, is hilarious. This morning I'm eating breakfast at the local diner and reading the book in the electronic version. I couldn't stop laughing, figuratively ROFLMAO. I made quite a scene there.
I finished the book tonight and just couldn't stop laughing.
I was planning to wait for the paperback, but now, I'll probably run out and buy the hardcover. Good authors deserve rewards.
Funny. Socially (and socialist) motivated. But slightly less successful than the first book.
The best scenes in the first book followed the action behind enemy lines. The story back in military HQ was amusing, but nowhere near as original or as involving (M*A*S*H or Catch22 did it better). The novel's highlight was the interaction between the four different types of intelligences -- bats, rats, man, and woman. With a little bit of Fluff on the side.
Unfortunately, most of the second book takes place with the bats, rats, Chip, and Ginny all separated from each other. And it takes place back in the home front. In other words, the best aspects of the first book are cast aside. In their place we get a bunch of farcical legal proceedings and a lot of conspiracy (both successful and not).
It's a funny book, and it consistently carries the plot and the characters in the same direction as they were going in the first book, but it's just not quite as magical. RATS BATS AND VATS was marvelous at playing off the interspecies misunderstandings against the romantic misunderstandings between Chip and Ginny. There is nothing that quite takes up the slack for the absence of it in THE RATS THE BATS AND THE UGLY. And the ending is more deus ex machina than the first book -- you don't quite feel like the victory has been earned.
There are some obvious open plot threads for a third book, but the authors will have to work a little harder to find a replacement for the romantic subplot that really made the first book work so well. And hopefully they will also continue to provide us with the wordplay and farce which they did so well in both RATS AND BATS novels.
Returning from the war against the insectoid Magh', Private Chip Connolly and his comrades the soft-cyber uplifted bats and rats should have been feted as heroes. After all, they'd rescued the First Shareholder's daughter, Virginia Shaw, from the spines of the treacherous Korozhet, destroyed a Magh' field generator, and become the first soldiers ever to survive and return from behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, on the planet of Harmony-And-Reason, things don't quite work that way, and Chip soon finds himself in the stockade, while Virginia Shaw is a prisoner in her own house, trapped by Korozhet villainy and the corruption of members of HAR's government.
Fortunately the Korozhet never counted on noble Fenian bats, voracious Shakespearian rats, and the arcane branch of human philosophy known by the sinister name of 'Platosforms'. Cue daring deeds, heroism and social upheaval - in the cause of not one but two rescues.
And no one ever tells a lady she's undressed while she still has her chainsaw...
Seriously, this book's an excellent read. I finished it inside four hours - no, it's not short, I just couldn't put it down - and I'm still laughing every time I think about it. From characterisation to plot to humour, it has it all. I preferred the first book, though - RBU is fast-paced and side-splittingly humorous, but RBV was faster and fresher, if not quite as hilarious. Not that RBU is stale, or anything like it. Far from it. The soft-cyber uplifted (sentient) galago who thinks he's Don Quixote is a prime example.
In marks out of ten, I'd give this book ten just for style and guts. (Well, nine point nine nine, anyway. RBV deserved the full ten more. But who's going to nitpick? 9.99 rounds up to 10)
Now, when's the next one coming out?
The rats and bats that make up his victorious team become concerned because they need one member of the squad with movable thumbs to open the beer. They decide they must rescue their best can opener Chip, but by doing so they bring down the wrath of the secret police, aliens, and the High Five upon themselves and their humanoid companions; then again Chip is still alive at first light. Their only hope to survive resides with Fluff the Kong, a warrior like none before, whose chances for success hinges upon avoiding burial by cup.
This sequel is as wild, wacky, and witty as the previous tale (see Rats, Bats and Vats). The story line satirizes everything as Eric Flint and Dave Freer take no prisoners. Chip is the center that holds the plot together, but it is his allies that make for a fast-paced, out of the world, rowdy science fiction adventure.
The plot takes off and swoops, the dialogue crackles, and the characters jump off the page. All in all, this is a book I plan to keep by my bedside for re-reading over the years to come, and Dave Freer is an author on my "Buy in Hardcover" list (and so is Eric Flint).