No Phule Like an Old Phule Mass Market Paperback – Mar 29 2004
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Already famous in sf circles for his Myth Adventure series, Asprin, accompanied here by sometime mystery author Heck, is rapidly becoming just as famous for his madcap Phule books. That's Phule as in Galactic Alliance officer Willard Phule, thrill-seeking megamillionaire bachelor, who, along with his motley band of misfit troops and his ever-eloquent butler, Beeker, remains stationed on one of the alliance's drearier outposts, Zenobia. In his latest misadventures, an ambassador friend courts his favor to cajole the locals into allowing big-game hunting on the planet. As he tries to oblige, he must put up with a bungled kidnapping attempt, the meddling of his munitions magnate father, the arrival of a hotshot new recruit, and an unplanned visit from the Alliance Ecological Interplanetary Observation Union--AEIOU, that is--and celebrity canine Barky the Environmental Dog. The Phule series is a welcome send up of military sf. Asprin devotees and readers who like their sf light won't want to miss the latest installment. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Peter J. Heck resides in Brooklyn, New York and is the author of Death on the Mississippi, another Twain mystery. His lifelong interest in Twain was sparked by his own uncanny resemblance to Samuel Clemens.
Top Customer Reviews
As others have noted, adding characters to an increasingly unwieldy cast doesn't improve the universe. It also doesn't fix a slapdash plot.
In addition, there are multiple sloppy continuity errors. The main character is named Willard Phule. His father refers to him as "Wilfred". Then all future references go back to "Willard". The previously Filipino cook inexplicably morphs into a Jamaican homebwah. Phule himself, in previous books disdained paying bribes; here he explicitly says that he doesn't mind bribing and that breaking rules is part of business.
I'm not a rabid fanboy, but obvious errors jump out at me. It makes me realize that I'm reading, as opposed to immersing me in the narrative. It's a sign that either the author doesn't care about his work, the editors don't care enough to actually read carefully - or both.
Plus, instead of coming up with a brand new plotline, or a brand new planet to play on/with, Mr. Asprin and Mr. Heck decided to set half the book at the casino (book two), bringing back two quasi-villains who now want to go straight (book four), and then have the typical problems with Phule's company of irregulars on the last planet of call (book four). Mixing the plots of books two and four makes for a fun, yet very shallow read; it's like rewarmed macaroni and cheese. Once is good, twice is OK, but after that, throw it out.
And although we're not to the throwing out stage just yet, I highly advise Mr. Asprin and Mr. Heck to come up with a different scene or some different characters for the next book, if indeed there is to be another one.
To begin with it's not funny. Just more of the same old jokes we've heard before, and not many of them to boot. It's like watching a sitcom rerun for the tenth time, you begin to forget why you laughed at it the first time.
Plot? There isn't any, just a mishmash of unrelated subplots that wouldn't be particularly interesting even if there were some underlying connection.
Character development? Again none. Hey even in a spoof there must be some character growth to keep the reader interested, there just isn't any here. Part of the problem may be that the story doesn't seem to be able to focus on any one, or even a group of characters, long enough for any of them to achieve any significant development. But that goes back to the noted lack of plot and storyline.
To keep it short and simple this one is dull, uninteresting and unpleasant to try and follow.
My interpretation of the series was that when you have a group of unusual people and a problem you should find an unusual solution. And I think part of the fun was watching Phule find the unusual solution. So how come Phule hardly shows up at all?
The writing is confusing. They introduced a 'Lepoid', a new alien. But what does it look like? How does it act? Took me until near the end of the book to put the poor descriptions together. Things come out of no where; it looks like this is an attempt to surprise us, I'd rather have a solid setup and then a surprise!
Shoot the editor! There are words missing in the middle of the text. Didn't anyone bother to proof read this? (Shoot whoever 'set' the type or however they do it these days, too).
If you haven't read this series before then don't start with this one, go back and read the first in the series, Phule's Company, it's much better. You might read this if you've already read the rest of the series, but remember: I warned you, you'll be disappointed.
Most recent customer reviews
This book was a great disappointment, Captain Jester was either brain damaged by the nano's, on drugs, or replaced by a robot for the entire book. Read morePublished on June 23 2004 by R. R. Roth
This book was disappointing to me. The most glaring issue to me was that the characters (introduced in previous books in the series) acted differently than I remember them in the... Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by Soar
Maybe I'm just more easily pleased than some readers, but I'm sure that nobody would have rated this book only one or even three stars if it hadn't had Robert Asprin's name on the... Read morePublished on May 14 2004