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

Funny, but a bit empty

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Not very satisfying, fairly pat.


Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Clive Catterall?

Almost anyone. I would choose Steven Pacey as I have yet to listen to an audiobook read him that wasn't excellently narrated.


Did Space Captain Smith inspire you to do anything?

No, it's not that sort of story.


Any additional comments?

This story is a very light tale of space derring-do. Although there are a few moments that made me giggle - some funny pastiches of well-known tropes and other novels or films - mostly, I found the humour a bit simple, and the characters were hard to engage with, as they are just there to set up jokes, really.If you like Douglas Adams and are looking for something in a similar vein (but less accomplished, natch), then give this a try; it was okay, but I won't read another of his.The narration was a big negative for this book: for the prose narration, the reader used the sort of intonation you would use when reading a child a bedtime story, while some of the voices were wildly off their descriptions. Perhaps with a better reader, this book would have appealed to me more, as you need someone skilful to get the comic timing right.

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- Grace

Pratchett-esque space shenanigans

Lots of enjoyable space adventure silliness with a lashings of British humour; dead-pan, underplayed and very funny. Set in an indefinable era that is a clash of cultures; psuedo-Victorian and 21st Century, it's almost a game of spot the film reference.

The reading by Clive Catterall was soft and gentle, which generally suited the style of the book. However, sometimes I felt the reading was a little too soft, as thought he was reading someone a bedtime story and hoping they would drop off shortly.
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- Paul Snook

Book Details

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