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The Ultimate Inferior Beings by Mark Roman
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The Ultimate Inferior Beings (edition 2012)

by Mark Roman

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417279,442 (3.69)1
Member:eaglesong3
Title:The Ultimate Inferior Beings
Authors:Mark Roman
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2012), Paperback, 300 pages
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The Ultimate Inferior Beings by Mark Roman

2012 (1) ARC (1) comedy (1) fiction (1) humor (9) imported (1) Kindle (3) own (1) Roman (1) science fiction (12) to-read (8)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
The cover is reminiscent of Monty Python. The characters remind me of those created by Douglas Adams. And the plot, well, for the sake of comparison, I’d put it someplace in the vicinity of Doctor Who and Red Dwarf. The story is not as clearly satirical as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and it’s sillier than Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, but comparisons can be made, and some other reviewers have made them. This book is in the same category with all of these, but it’s different. Yes. It’s funny. Actually, of the seventy or so books I’ve read this year, I found this to be one of the most enjoyable.
Why, you might ask. I know I asked this. It may be the quirky characters. There is no antagonist as such, and the protagonist, jixX (no, that’s not a typo), is not much of hero. He’s a landscape architect drafted to pilot a starship, seemingly for no logical reason. You might think this would be considered a black mark on the novel, but it didn’t bother me much. It was supposed to be absurd, and it was. The selection of the crew to accompany him also made no sense. There is the carpenter who has never worked on real wood, the beautiful and mysterious gynecologist, the ostensible scientist trying to prove the existence of God through hidden linguistic clues and who (for reasons unknown) seems to have a German accent, and the professional stowaway who is not technically part of the crew. We suspect that someone had some reason for these crew selections, but none is ever revealed. Perhaps it is as completely random as it appears and it is our presumption that such things should make sense that is misleading us. There is also a ship’s computer with questionable wit.
Then there are the little, green aliens who have a peculiar fondness for bricks. They didn’t make much sense, either, but they’re fun.
The story ends about three fourths of the way in. After that, there is an epilog, and a glossary, and some appendices, and an index. They’re fun, too.
I found this book refreshingly different. Many of the books I’ve read recently seemed formulaic, as if the writers all read the same books on how to write books. They followed the same rules for building their characters and settings and for structuring their plots. If Mark Roman read any of these ‘how to write a novel’ books, he wisely ignored them.
I highly recommend this odd little book to readers who like humorous science fiction, aren’t intimidated by a bit of mind-bending absurdity, and who are looking for something completely different.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
I didn't like it. The names were very annoying. There were some funny bits at the very beginning, but it was just strange for no real reason. Couldn't manage to actually care about any of the characters. ( )
  debsanswers | Jan 24, 2013 |
The Ultimate Inferior Beings by Mark Roman is a funny little, sci-fi find. Starting out on Tenalp (one of Earth's remotest colony planets) we meet jixX, a landscape architect who has unwillingly found himself the captain of a mission into space to discover why another spaceship (The Living Chrysalis) crashed.

JixX will be captaining the Night Ripple, a dangerously obsolete ship, whose greatest asset is LEP- the ship's computer- and the wonders his in-built wit-box provide him with. JixX's crew consists of four others; fluX the behavioural chemist- who is trying to prove the existence of God through puns; twaX the carpenter- who has never seen a real tree and dreams of chopping one down; anaX the gynaecologist with strange habits and finally sylx the professional stowaway- whose job it is to find real stowaways.

Together they battle to find a way home safely, with or without the others, and end up in just the kind of mishaps you can imagine. Whether it's because LEP has no sense of direction or just down to bad luck, they end up off target and at the mercy of green alien blobs (nicknamed the Mamms- as in Mammaliens).

Maybe you've noticed, but all the names end in capital X, start with a lowercase letter and have four letters in total. This isn't really relevant to the review, I just thought I'd throw that little observation in. Also, there are a lot of puns in this book. Personally, I enjoy a good pun, but those of you who don't like that kind of humour should be warned. As for me, I found them hilarious, especially in context and with the other characters reactions to add to it.

JixX is you're average grumpy, Englishman (is he English?) to me. He even reminded me a little of Arthur Dent (from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), but make no mistake, they are not the same person. Only small elements are similar. He had his own enjoyable personality.

I really liked anaX's character as well. I won't give anything away, but when you find out why she did what she did, it just adds the cherry on top of the "quirky" character pie.

At the end of the book we get a little glossary and a few appendixes, mostly about the history of the Mamms. They explain a little more about how they evolved and where Benjaminism came from. That's a religion by the way, in fact it's every religion they created ever.

The only criticism I have is that the ending was a bit abrupt. That and the plot felt a little thin- but then who says there even needs to be a plot? Some of the most successful books out there have no plot whatsoever. But if you are someone who likes plot, it's something to keep in mind. I would recommend it. It's an enjoyably good tale for any sic-fi lovers out there.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own. ( )
  needtoreadgottowatch | Dec 30, 2012 |
Tenalp is the most remote of the earth colonies and, as such, has attracted those inhabitants who are "as dumb as a bag of bricks." A landscape architect from Tenalp, jixX, suddenly finds that he is to become the Captain of the spaceship whose crew consists of a computer with too many wit boxes, a behavioural chemist, a carpenter of plastics and the only female member of the crew, a gynaecologist. On board they find a stowaway, who is employed by the Ministry of Intelligence and Spying.

As they travel along on their top-secret mission, the behavioural chemist tries to discover the existence of God through the alphabet, and the plastics carpenter becomes crazed when he realizes the dining table is real wood. A problem with their flight forces them to land on the planet Ground, where they meet an alien race of green blobs, with another bunch of interesting characters to meet. Will Jeremy, the religious fanatic blob, succeed in killing the Tenlaps, or will the gynaecologist succeed in blowing up the universe with a neutrino bomb?

I found this book very well written and absolutely hysterical. To me it is reminiscent of Douglas Adams' style. Mark Roman has a very dry wit that I find particularly funny.

The story line was interesting and innovative, and the action kept you on the edge of your seat wanting to read more to find out what happens to all of the strange, yet delightful characters.

It is a skill to be able to create a humorous science fiction story, and Mark Roman has done it very successfully. I will be on the lookout for more by this author.

I was given this book from a LibraryThing Member Giveway in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  rretzler | Dec 6, 2012 |
This was one of the funniest books I've ever read. Each single page managed to make me smile or laugh, sometimes laugh out loud, which was quite embarrassing at times, as I've read it mostly during my train journeys.

At the same time as being funny, it’s also a gripping story. There are surprises and unexpected turns throughout, and you have no idea what will happen next. As you read, you get prepared for any eventuality, and yet, the book still manages to surprise you. That’s what I loved about it. So totally unpredictable.

The other strong point is that as a reader, you find yourself really caring about what happens to the characters, even the not so nice ones, even the non-human ones. You can understand their frailty, vulnerability, and almost feel sorry for their idiocy at times. Also, as in real life, you find yourself not liking someone and then realizing they’re not so bad after all. There’s a great lesson in there, for making allowances for even the stupidest people.

I really hope the author will write a sequel, as I want to know what happens next. And I need more occasions to laugh, of course. ( )
  Martina.Munzittu | Oct 29, 2012 |
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It would be fair to say that Tenalp, being the remotest of Earth's colony planets, had never attracted the finest minds.
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