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The Road to Mars: A Post-Modem Novel

Idle, Eric

ISBN 10: 037540340X / ISBN 13: 9780375403408
Published by Pantheon, 1999
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Signed 037540340X Signed by Eric Idle. Bookseller Inventory # 011601

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Road to Mars: A Post-Modem Novel

Publisher: Pantheon

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

What makes humans bark?
Is the funny bone funny?
What is the algebra of comedy?
Did the sitcom originate with the ape?

Carlton is an android (a 4.5 Bowie Artificial Intelligence  Robot) who works for Alex and Lewis, two comedians from the twenty-second century who travel the outer vaudeville circuit of the solar system known ironically as the Road to Mars. His problem is that although as a computer he cannot understand irony, he is attempting to write a thesis about comedy, its place in evolution, and whether it can ever be cured. And he is also studying the comedians of the late twentieth century (including obscure and esoteric comedy acts such as Monty Python's Flying Circus) in his search for the comedy gene.
        
In the meantime, while auditioning for a gig on the Princess Di (a solar cruise ship), his two employers inadvertently offend the fabulous diva Brenda Woolley and become involved in a terrorist plot against Mars, the home of Showbiz.

Can Carlton prevent Alex and Lewis from losing their gigs, help them overcome the love thing, and finally understand the meaning of comedy in the universe?  Will a robot ever really be able to do stand-up? As Einstein might have said, nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of laughter.

The Road to Mars was named one of the best books of 1999 by the Los Angeles Times.

Review:

The Road to Mars is the second novel by Eric Idle--yes, that Eric Idle, the guy from Monty Python's Flying Circus. No, the book isn't like a Monty Python skit (and a good thing too, since silly sketches are no basis for a successful novel). Yes, Monty Python is mentioned in the book, but the self-referentiality is blessedly confined to two paragraphs. Yes, The Road to Mars is funny. It's also genuine science fiction. And it's satirical, sharply characterized, well-written, thoughtful, fun, and more complex than you'd expect from its picaresque structure, in which a stand-up-comedian odd couple and their robot knock around the outer planets in search of decent gigs. Well, Alex and Lewis are looking for work (and sex); their android, Carlton, unfazed by his own irony impairment, is trying to write a thesis about comedy. The trio quickly find themselves mixed up with a mysterious beauty, a famous diva, the captain of the solar cruise ship Princess Di, and a band of terrorists determined to blow up Mars.

In addition to The Road to Mars and Monty Python scripts, Eric Idle is the author of the SF/fantasy novel Hello Sailor (1975), the play Pass the Butler (1982), and the children's book The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat. --Cynthia Ward

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