Space Captain Smith

  • by Toby Frost
  • Narrated by Clive Catterall
  • 7 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Space Captain Smith is the first book of the Chronicles of Isambard Smith. It’s the 25th Century and the British Space Empire faces the gathering menace of the evil ant-soldiers of the Ghast hive, hell bent on galactic domination and the extermination of all humanoid life forms.
Captain Isambard Smith is the square-jawed, courageous and somewhat asinine new commander of the clapped out freighter John Pym, destined to take on the alien threat because nobody else is available. Together with his bold crew - a skull-collecting alien lunatic, an android pilot who is actually a fugitive sex toy and a hamster called Gerald - he must collect new-age herbalist Rhianna Mitchell from the New Francisco orbiter and bring her back to the Empire in safety. Straightforward enough – except the Ghasts want her too and, in addition to a whole fleet of Ghast warships, Smith has to confront void sharks, a universe-weary android assassin and John Gilead, psychopathic naval officer from the fanatically religious Republic of Eden before facing his greatest enemy: a ruthless alien warlord with a very large behind….

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What the Critics Say

"Frost's debut, a light-hearted interstellar adventure, focuses on a second-rate captain, Isambard Smith. Plucked from a desk job in the bureaucracy of the 25th century British Space Empire, Smith, whose attitudes are straight out of the original British Empire, is sent on a simple mission to escort Rhianna Mitchell from her home on the hippie planet New Francisco to the spaceport Midlight. Naturally the mission isn't as straightforward as Smith is led to believe and he finds himself making mortal enemies of the alien 462 and the evangelical Captain Gilead. Sudden scene changes leave the reader momentarily confused, and offhand references to pop science fiction culture are more clichéd than clever. An ironic sense of British rectitude nicely contrasts with the satire of 1940s space opera, but Frost never quite finds his voice or pacing." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gives the sacred cows of sci-fi a good kicking before racing home in time for tea." (Dick Maggs, director of BBC Radio 4's The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
A highly enjoyable read of daring-do and regular wit and humor." (James Roberts, Gatehouse Gazette)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Definitely up to Audible's Standards

Would you listen to Space Captain Smith again? Why?

Yes. Its a light, fun, entertaining book filled with and abundant of humorous pop culture references.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Space Captain Smith?

I found all of the characters to be instantly likable.


What about Clive Catterall’s performance did you like?

I thought his understated delivery fit perfectly with the pace and style of the story.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Several times in this book I found myself laughing out loud.


Any additional comments?

I hesitated about buying this book because of the bad reviews on Audible, but I finally downloaded because of recommendation I've found on other sites. I am so glad I did, all three books in the trilogy are a delight to listen to. It's a lighthearted adventure that sucks in within the first few minutes. If you are a fan of Terry Pratchett and fun sci-fi adventures, I highly recommend this book and the rest in the trilogy.

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- Jason Rubino

Space Opera with British Humor

My neighbors must wonder why I am snickering as I do yard work. This is the book that kept me smiling as I pulled weeds in 100+ weather.

This is the kind of space opera I like: quirky, sly, tongue-in-cheek, 'don't take yourself too seriously'. Our hero, Smith, is a little ego heavy; clueless, but well-meaning. He has an alien sidekick, and android female pilot. The potential girlfriend is a flower child! (Google the term if you are too young to know what that refers to ;) .) Characters lean toward stereotypes, some from old war movies, but everybody has a back story and the sly humor makes them likable, each in their own way. Even the villains are entertaining.

The characters and plot are loosely patterned after Saturday afternoon serials from the movie houses of yesteryear, with lots of references to 'pop culture' (i.e. movies; don't miss Casablanca). But don't worry if you don't catch them all, I'm sure I didn't. The story is written in the naive style of the '40's. However the book's voice is subtly self-aware. The humor comes from playing with underhanded, sneaky exaggeration of the stereotypes. Many sacred cows are slaughtered.

The narration is very good. I could only fault it slightly for being delivered in soto voice. But that is a quibble. The narrator does know how to deliver this kind of humor. (Some do not.)

To achieve humor and sustain it for a whole novel, I think, is an under-appreciated skill. The humor is subtle. That is, the reader has pay attention to detail. For instance our hero, Smith, while infatuated with the potential love interest, totally misses the signals that she tries to send indicating her interest. The author was able convey that nuance in a warm, human tone, without demeaning either of them.

I've read all three audiobooks, now, and can say the author didn't let me down. I would put it in the same category as "Starship Grifters" by Robert Kroese, "Willful Child" by Steven Erikson, and "Emperor Mollusk vs the Sinister Brain" by A Lee Martinez.
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- Ijw

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-29-2011
  • Publisher: Iambik Audio Inc