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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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Title:The Ultimate Inferior Beings
Authors:Mark Roman
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The Ultimate Inferior Beings by Mark Roman

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Showing 5 of 5
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 |
The Ultimate Inferior Beings takes place in the distant future in which humans have colonized space. The story begins when a starship that had been making the journey from Earth to one of its most remote colonies, Tenalp, arrives with all of its crewmembers mysteriously deceased. As explained in the book’s brief introduction, the residents of Tenalp are hilariously bad at everything. Therefore, after much deliberation, the Tenalp government determines that the best way to find out what happened is to send another starship on an identical mission.

jixX is a landscape architect who happens to be appointed captain of The Night Ripple, the ship that is sent on this mission. Although he repeatedly protests that his “flight experience” consists of him sitting on his pilot father’s lap as a child, he is given little choice in the matter. jixX is very much the everyman—not especially bright but smart enough to realize how ridiculous the circumstances are, making him likable and easy to sympathize with. His personality and physical features are left intentionally vague, and in some ways he represents the reader’s position in the story. He is the only somewhat normal character in this world of oddities.

The rest of the cast is a downright madhouse of colorful, peculiar personalities. Soon after taking off, jixX is introduced to his relatively useless crew: a carpenter who has only ever worked with wood substitutes and is obsessed with real wood, a scientist who is adamant that God left puns in the English language and that uncovering these puns will prove His existence, and a rather psychopathic gynecologist, who is also the only woman on board. In addition, jixX soon uncovers a mysterious stowaway who has made a career out of her ability to hide. And then there’s LEP, the ship’s highly incompetent central computer with an entertainingly lame sense of humor and no sense of direction.

It is LEP that suggests the name “Mamm aliens” for the race of slimy green blobs that jixX and his crew stumble upon after they enter the Pseudogravitic Continuum, a bubble universe through which they are meant to pass on their way to Earth. The Mamms’ civilization is centered around the almighty brick, and among them is a group of religious fanatics who believe in the Ultimate Inferior Beings—a race of beings so bad at everything that they will one day destroy the universe. One of these fanatics, Jeremy, uses circuitous reasoning to determine that humans are these beings and that he is the Chosen One who must destroy them. Jeremy’s blowhard speeches satirize the kind of roundabout arguments often heard from real-life fanatics, religious and otherwise, and it is up to jixX to stop him and save humankind.

Given what we are shown of the Tenalp civilization, Jeremy, despite his erroneous thinking, probably has a point. The bulk of the book’s humor comes from watching just how incredibly daft the characters, especially those in positions of authority, can be while still believing in their own flawed logic and inherent superiority. And then there are the scientist’s “discoveries” in the English language—messages found in the Periodic Table that convince him that he is getting closer to finding proof of God’s existence.

At the back of the book is a Glossary defining some of the terms used in the novel—and then some. All technologies and locations are explained in the narrative itself, and so the Glossary isn’t required to understand what is going on. Rather, it serves as an entertaining bonus feature that partially explains some of Tenalp’s characteristics (such as why all citizens of that planet have lower case names ending with X) and provides as another opportunity to enjoy Roman’s unique wit. In addition, there are appendices describing the evolution and history of the Mamm aliens, a bonus story, and another one of the scientist’s pun proofs. Finally, there is what I initially believed to be a hysterically worthless index of the kind that might have been created by the citizens of Tenalp, featuring words such as “me” and “that.” However, it turns out that Roman has pulled a fast one again—it is in fact a puzzle.

The Ultimate Inferior Beings is written with a very distinctive attitude, and at times it feels as though the narrator himself is a character in the story, making quips about the situation as he describes it. And yet this voice never gets in the way of the story itself—rather, it lends to the book’s offbeat atmosphere. While verisimilitude isn’t a priority in a story that features green blobs with posh Oxbridge accents, the universe is nevertheless believable in its own quirky way. It is easy to become immersed in the story’s many absurdities and to become quite attached to its wonderfully eccentric style. Original, clever, and droll, Roman has created a thoroughly enjoyable work of science fiction comedy that will appeal to anyone who appreciates intelligent humor. ( )
1 vote AstralColt | Oct 23, 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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