HUMOUR

 

 A

 

ADAMS, Douglas 

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (A Trilogy in Four Parts)    1979, 1980, 1982, 1984 Humour/SF

A must read/listen to

 

Life, The Universe and Everything (The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 3)  1982

Clever, funny, original, post-modern themes

 

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency   1987     Humour/SF

P.G. Wodehouse meets Dr. Who: a complete pleasure

 

CALVINO, Italo    

If On A Winters Night A Traveller       1979     Novel

Postmodern, self-aware, deconstructive – but also fun and engaging

 

ELTON, Ben   

Popcorn    1997

Clever, funny, incisive: works as a thriller and as satire

 

MICALLEF, Shaun

Smithereens         2004

Consistent. Hilarious. Surreal. Uniquely Micallef. Only to be taken in small doses.

 

MILLIGAN, Spike

Puckoon    1963

Hilarious

 

WODEHOUSE, P.G.    

A Damsel in Distress  1919

Delightful. Hilarious scenes and dialogue. Unparalleled narration.

 

 A-      

 

BARRY, Dave       

Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits            1988

Consistently funny newspaper columns

 

DURRELL, Gerald      

My Family and Other Animals      1956

Amusing recollections of an animal mad kid about his eccentric family

 

HARRISON, Harry      

A Stainless Steel Rat is Born 1985

Excellent prequel to the consistent series

 

KEILLOR, Garrison    

We Are Still Married    1989

Inconsistent but often manages warmth & whimsicality without sentimentality

 

P.G. Wodehouse

Something Fresh 1915

Postmodern Wodehouse

 

 B+

 

ADAMS, Douglas 

The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul   1988

Somewhat surreal second ‘Dirk Gently’ novel

 

Mostly Harmless (The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 5)           1992     Humour/SF

Enjoyable hotchpotch of action, humour, SF satire and post-modern philosophy

 

CULOTTA, Nino   

They’re A Weird Mob 1957

Ingenuous Italian Australian plays with stereotype aussie slang/behaviour

 

ELTON, Ben   

Stark    1989

Consistently funny, unsubtle satire and environmental message

 

Gridlock    1991

Weird juxtaposition: thriller plot narrated by (good!) stand-up comedian

 

FFORDE, Jasper  

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, Book 1)   2001     SF/Humour/Crime

As good as, worse and better than Adams or Pratchett

 

The Big Over Easy      2005     SF/Humour/Crime

Another enjoyable excursion

 

HARRIS, Robert   

PMQ    2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Amusing frightfully British narration of PM in a sitcom style sketch

 

HARRISON, Harry      

The Stainless Steel Rat     1961

Classic likeable master-thief in comic but workable SF environment 

 

The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge     1970

Enjoyable James Bond/Pimpernel farce in space ships

 

The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World 1972

Enjoyable James Bond/Pimpernel farce in space ships

 

HERRIOT, James

If Only They Could Talk    1970

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

 

Let Sleeping Vets Lie 1973

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

                      

Every Living Thing     1992

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

 

KEILLOR, Garrison    

Lake Wobegon Days   1985     Short Stories/Historical Fiction/Humour

Nostalgic, languid, imaginative, warm, whimsical, indulgently tangential

 

LODGE, David      

Changing Places   1975     Novel/Humour

A middle-aged daydream

 

Small World    1984     Novel/Humour

Second of the clever and funny Rummidge Uni series

 

MILLIGAN, Spike

Adolf Hitler – My Part in His Downfall (1st of his War Memoirs)    1971     Autobiography/Humour

Silly drunken licentious farting about in basic training

 

PRATCHETT, Terry    

Mort     1987     Fantasy/Humour

Some wonderful ideas and descriptions excuse a dumb climax

 

Pyramids   1989     Fantasy/Humour

Relished the charmingly silly first half, then it seemed to want us care about the absurd plot

 

Moving Pictures    1990     Fantasy/Humour

Yeah, another Pratchett. Some amusing bits - a workmanlike effort

 

Soul Music      1994     Fantasy/Humour

Competent. Discworld, drugs and Rock ‘n Roll

 

Jingo   1997     Fantasy/Humour

Competent – Pratchett’s spin on nationalism

 

The Last Continent     1998     Fantasy/Humour

Standard Discworld novel, with a few Aussie ‘in’ jokes

 

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents     2001     Fantasy/Humour

Funny, workmanlike plot, some charming characters, odd anti-Christian allegories

 

SIMSEON, Graeme

The Rosie Project 2013     Novel/Humour (Romance, ASD)

Cashing in on the ASD boom, but deftly

 

WESTLAKE, Donald E.    

God Save the Mark     1967     Crime / Humour

Capable enough humourous playing with crime conventions

 

WILLIS, Connie

To Say Nothing of the Dog     1997     SF / Humour

Light comic SF. Usable Wodehouse characters and settings around passable Dr Who premise

 

WODEHOUSE, P.G.

The Pothunters     1902

Not just because it’s the first, but because it’s good!

 

 

 B

 

BARRY, Dave 

Dave Barry’s Guide to Life      1991 (1984; 1985; 1986; 1987) Humour

(Contains: "Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex" / "Babies and Other Hazards of Sex" / "Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead" / "Claw Your Way to the Top")

Less enjoyable than the columns, but still funny   

 

Dave Barry Turns 40         1990     Humour

A Step up on from the ‘Guide to Life’ books, solid, but few laugh out loud moments

 

Big Trouble     1999     Action/Humour

Professional, funny, but slick, filmic and disposable

 

COOK, Peter (Cook, William – Ed.)   

Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook     2002     Humour/Biography

Some great moments, but better as a DVD

 

CULOTTA, Nino   

Cop this Lot    1960

Weird Mob sequel, this time Australians go to Italy

 

ELTON, Ben   

Inconceivable  1991     Novel/Humour

Workmanlike realisation of a usable idea, engaging start and finish, but bogs down in cliché in the middle

 

FFORDE, Jasper  

Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next, Book 2)            2006     SF/Humour

Funny, original, but poor plot and villains

 

HAŠEK, Jaroslav  

The Red Commissar   1923

Czech satire of bureaucratic absurdities

 

MILLIGAN, Spike & HOBBS, Jack     

William McGonagall meets George Gershwin: A Scottish Fantasy   1988

Hit and miss utterly unedited stream of consciousness goonery

 

MICALLEF, Shaun

Preincarnate         2010     Humour/SF

Several expectedly hilarious moments, but structurally disappointing

 

NAYLOR, Doug    

Last Human (Red Dwarf series)     1995     Humour/SF

OK if you’re in the right (undemanding) mood

 

PRATCHETT, Terry    

Small Gods     1992

Solid humour as ever but a bit dodgily preachy

 

WILDE, Oscar 

The Canterville Ghost       1887

Light comedy into light ghost story

 

WODEHOUSE, P.G.

The Gold Bat   1904     Humour

Still aimed at contemporary schoolboys, but more cohesive

 

The Head of Kay's       1905     Humour

Not timeless, but a palatable authentic ride through historically interesting century old British public schools

 

The White Feather       1905     Humour

Pleasing, predictable early Wodehouse

 

Mike and Psmith   1909 (1953)

Probably worth more but I read it too long ago to say

 

Bill the Conqueror      1924

Probably worth more but I read it too long ago to say

 

Ring for Jeeves     1925

Probably worth more but I read it too long ago to say

 

Doctor Sally    1932    

Some nice moments, but not one of his classics and an irritating lead

 

The Mating Season (Jeeves)   1934

Probably worth more but I read it too long ago to say

 

Very Good, Jeeves      1947     Humour

Probably worth more but I read it too long ago to say

 

 

 B-

 

FFORDE, Jasper

The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next, Book 3)    2003     SF/Humour

Has Thursday Next jumped the shark?

 

GALLICO, Paul    

Scruffy      1962

Light British comedy around an ape in Gibraltar

 

HAWKS, Tony      

Round Ireland with a Fridge   1998

Whimsical comedian travelogue. Not as many chuckles as the Moldovans sequel

 

KEILLOR, Garrison

Leaving Home       1987     Short Stories/Humour

Didn’t work for me this time – maybe just my mood?

 

The Book of Guys       1993     Short Stories/Humour

Improvisations around an indulgent theme: occasionally inspired technique but ultimately childish perspective

 

WODEHOUSE, P.G.

A Prefect's Uncle   1903

Too much detail on the cricket pitch

     

Tales of St Austin’s    1903

Still just one for the fans (or early 20th C. public schoolboys)

 

William Tell Told Again    1904

Able exercise

 

Cocktail Time        1958

Didn’t enjoy this one as much as usual

 

 

 C–

 

GATISS, Mark

The Vesuvius Club     2004     Historical Fiction/Humour

Farcical Moore-type Bond characters and plot; obscenity overdressed in big words

 

 D

 

RANKIN, Robert         

Armageddon the Musical 1991     Humour/SF

Poor, seedy, charmless Pratchett copy

 

 

 D-

 

McGIRT, Dan

Royal Chaos    1990     Fantasy/Humour

Tryhard predictable comedy