Comic SF parody will appeal to fans
Of Douglas Adams And Things Like Kilgore Douglas Adams and things ike Kilgore s Venus of the Half Shell We have three university students 2 genius guys and the girl they both fancy who has a BA in Home Economics they invent a new substance called Cheddite when a student prank substitutes cheese for the element they were supposed to be bombarding it gets weaponised and produces a device that can basically teleport things During an
experiment which gets ruined by the intervention of a Russian agent which gets ruined by the intervention of a Russian agent four get transported into outer space and set themselves up as Galaxy Rangers having intergalactic adventures with various alien racesI m not a huge fan of this sort of comedy but it hums along merrily enough It is ightening paced and very episodic What I
like was the ending where Sally ends with the reformed Russian agent and our two genius boys decide they Registers of Illuminated Villages love each other so the happy couplesive happily ever after its just such a perfect parody of the Flash Gordon style SFThis one didn t make me Ping-pong laugh outoud as much of Harry Harrison has in the past but its a silly fun pulpy SF adventure A spoof of Campbellian SF it is funny once Google John W Campbell a very influential SF writereditor in the 50 s 60 s Earth men were smart courageous WASPs aliens were dumb cowardly BEMs wanted our women Earthman ingenuity courage beat the BEMs EVERY time Now before anyone accuses me of missing the point here I get that this book is satire You can I guess accuse me of not having a sense of humor because I didn t think it was terribly funny Harrison seems to have decided to parody the style of macho sci fi he grew up with and to deliberately write the worst book he could manage to write in the process In fairness the worst book he could write is still better than the best most authors ever manageThe book is about a couple of college jocks who also happen to be scientific geniuses that stumble across the secret to faster than ight travel and begin an adventure across the galaxy in a 747 their school uses to transport the football team They fight various bug eyed monsters and intergalactic threats with the nature of the uest becoming increasingly improbable Come on Jerry the accumulators are crackling with barely restrained power Chuck shouted Deliberately ridiculous dialogue sets the scene for Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers Harry Harrison s classic spoof on Pulp era science fiction Two college students Chuck and Jerry accidentally discover a powerful new substance made out of cheddar cheese cheddite and use it to build a space ship out of a 747 which just happens to be available Along with their black friend and former Communist spy John and their ove interest Sally who mainly screams faints and cooks the omni competent heroes both Chuck and Jerry are simultaneously brilliant engineers scientists and rugged outdoorsmen meet up and fight with alien races every one of which. The wild galaxy hopping adventures of brash young scientists Jerry Courtenay and Chuck van Chider are at the core of this classic space opera When the two college students develop a faster than ight space drive in their homemade.
did ike was the ending where sally ends
Characters Star Smashers of the Galaxy RangersEnre in his own right
"and he stood "he stood by using satire in his classic works such as the Stainless Steel Rat series He also wrote humorous one offs such as The Technicolor Time Machine which is much better than Star Smashers Harrison is deliberately writing badly in Star Smashers to satirise the Pulp style While it is certainly entertaining for a while it begins to drag on the reader despite the book being very short ess than 200 pages Star Smashers works best for contemporary readers if you have an awareness of the era it is satirising or if your taste extends to extreme silliness It s rare that you read the first sentence and realize that this book is going to be trouble And you finish the first page and realize that you are going to hate th I got into Harry Harrison because of the Deathword and the Slippery Jim diGriz stories the Stainless Steel Rat This was the payoff Gawd he must have had fun writing this The Pleasantville Originally published on my blog here in March 2001As spoofs go this must rank as one of the most outrageous ever written Like many science fiction fans I have a considerable affection for the space operas of writers Mobilizing Minds likeEEDoc Smith but I would have to admit that they are poorly written sexist and sometimes usually unconsciously racist They succeed because of their imagination thingsike galaxy destroying weapons even though written at a time when Mars was as far as most science fiction was willing to travelThe parodistic relationship with Smith in particular is very clear at the start which is based extremely closely on his first novel Skylark Two college boys are playing with a particle accelerator and some cheddar cheese when they discover a portable space warp They set off with this in a Jumbo Jet with their girlfriend who can t decide which of them she prefers and school janitor and Communist spy John the token black characterThe story is funny in its own right as well
as being a merciless parody of the shortcomingsbeing a merciless parody of the shortcomings the genre It also possesses a wonderful twist at the end which ike many of the jokes would be spoilt by repetition Does for classic space opera what Team America World Police does for Thunderbirds Though I m sorry to say there s not uite as much gratuitous sex As a ongtime fan of the Lensman series by E E Doc Smith how could I NOT ove Star Smashers It s as clever a spoof as anything by the Zucker brothers Fun goofy and full
of the best faux drama you l ever findIf you want a rollicking good space adventure withthe best faux drama you Grange-Enders ll ever findIf you want a rollicking good space adventure with jawed heroes damsels in distress evil aliens and epic scope all done with tongue firmly ensconced in cheekthis one s for you This is such a fun read Harrison is one of those writers who can cover aot of material in a handful of sentences He s also got a sharp sense of wit witness his satirical take on Cold War politics gender relations and sexuality in this slim adventure Moreover Harrison doesn t hesitate to me. Urtling through the solar system towards Titan an icy moon of Saturn inhabited by hideous ice creatures Titan and the 20th century are only suare one as the foursome becomes embroiled in a vast intergalactic century jumping battl. .
Has fortunately istened to your radio broadcasts and The Million-Dollar Bloodhunt learned fluent English and set up the Galaxy Rangers modelled on the Texas Rangers which apparently no one other than Earthmen could possibly have thought of beforeThe Pulp era is a period roughly between the 1890s and 1950s in which inexpensive fiction magazines were mass printed on cheap wood pulp paper They were not not exclusively science fiction SF but the genre definitely got its start in these publications withurid exploitative and sensational subject matter The uality was to put it politely highly variable The top writers of SF Clarke Asimov Heinlein etc got their start in pulps but most of it was being written to provide cheap uick entertainment with Carrion Comfort literary uality on the bottom of the priorityist Star Smashers most directly references the Lensman and Skylark series of E E Doc Smith who is arguably the Father of Space Opera If you enjoyed the Star Wars series you are enjoying the direct descendants of Smith s writing including the episodic nature of the stories However the scientific pretensions of the main characters are also Harrison s satire on the positions of John W Campbell the hugely influential American science fiction writer and editor As editor of Astounding Science Fiction Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact fromate 1937 until his death his dictates on story content shaped the genre for generations While his insistence on scientific understanding by writers improved the uality of the genre from the original pulps he also insisted that heroes be predominantly cigar chewing competent guys He was a notorious racist so the competent guys would be white as well Harrison skewers the Campbellian hero type by making Chuck and Jerry absurdly over the top geniuses but with an underlying pettiness which becomes apparent as John proves to be eually competent if not so Sally also chafes against being constantly
sidelined and ignored except when being menaced by aliens or when food needs to be prepared but sheand ignored except when being menaced by aliens or when food needs to be prepared but she to rebel at the very end The relationship of Chuck and Jerry as guys is also shown to be rather intense Star Smashers was first published in 1973 so the Golden Age of Pulps and Campbell would have 1973 so the Golden Age of Pulps and Campbell would have in the recent memory of people reading it It s worth noting that the Galaxy Ranger s spaceship a converted Boeing 747 had its first commercial flight in 1970 So it was still groundbreaking aerial technology when this book was written as opposed to being the old workhorse aircraft of today This perhaps sums up the current problem of Star Smashers as a satire the works and era it is satirising have almost vanished Virtually no one reads Doc Smith any and the Pulp era primarily Nobody Likes You lives on in film Star Wars but also the Super Hero genre Guardians of the Galaxy would be the most obvious homage to the Pulp and Golden Age SF sensibilities out today Theate Harry Harrison died 2012 was a giant of the SF Workshed they decide to sneak it aboard their football team's airplane as a prank The boyish plan backfires however and the boys find themselves along with their crush Sally and the seemingly oveable school caretaker Old John ,