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Funny SF
 

Writing comedy is hard under any circumstances. Writing comedic SF is even harder, because for some reaosn the SF genre doesn't really lend itself well to comedy. Only two authors I know of have done a really good job of writing funny SF.

Douglas Adams

British author Douglas Adams was the primary brain behind the staggeringly funny epic called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It started as a radio program, then became a TV serial, transformed into a book, and eventually resulted in a major feature film. Each version has told the same basic story, but always in a different way and always, always funny. The written version of THHGTTG can be found in several forms - single volumes, collections, e-books, audiobooks. I have most of the series in a single handsome leather-bound volume.

  • MORE THAN COMPLETE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE
    Author: Adams, Douglas
    Copyright:1986
    Publisher: Longmeadow Press
    ISBN: 0-681-40322-5
    A beautiful leather-bound omnibus of the first four Hitchhiker\'s Guide novels, plus a short story called Young Zaphod Plays It Safe. No review could do justice to the Hitchhiker\'s Guide, so I'm not going to try. Suffice to say that Adams does for SF what Terry Pratchett does for fantasy with his Discworld.

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Harry Harrison

In his career, Harry Harrison wrote almost every kind of SF that there is, including comedic SF. My Harrison collection consists mainly of the comedy/satire series called "The Stainless Steel Rat."

  • ADVENTURES OF THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT
    Author: Harrison, Harry
    Copyright:1978
    Publisher: Berkley Books
    ISBN: 0-425-03819-X
    In a far-future world, Mankind has spread across interstellar space. The combination of highly advanced technology and a highly rigid, codified society makes it much harder for criminals to operate. Enter James Bolivar "Slippery Jim" diGriz -- the Stainless Steel Rat. Master of disguise, computers, nonlethal weaponry, and a host of other skills, diGriz is a highly successful crook ... until the day the Special Corps comes after him. When the dust settles, diGriz is an agent for the Special Corps, operating all over the human League of Worlds, dealing with threats to humankind from within and without. Oh, and he's still a crook.

    This book is an omnibus of the first three Stainless Steel Rat adventures: THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT, THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT RETURNS, and THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT SAVES THE WORLD. The first is how he joined the Special Corps and his first mission for them. The second deals with a little problem of interstellar invasion. The third involves time travel to the distant past, where diGriz goes up against an insane genius on a backwards little planet called Earth.
  • STAINLESS STEEL RAT WANTS YOU!, THE
    Author: Harrison, Harry
    Copyright:1979
    Publisher: Bantam Books
    ISBN: 0-553-12625-3
    After a minor misunderstanding with the tax man, Slippery Jim is sent to investigate the disappearance of a ship-full of senior League Navy admirals. In short order he discovers that humanity is under attack, by an enormous armada of well-armed, incredibly ugly aliens. A complicated plot gets Jim and his son Bolivar into the aliens' headquarters, where he finds that an old enemy is behind the alien invasion. They escaped once before, but they won't escape again. A somewhat more serious entry in the series, with much less of the humor that characterizes the other SSR novels.
  • STAINLESS STEEL RAT IS BORN
    Author: Harrison, Harry
    Copyright:1985
    Publisher: Bantam Spectra
    ISBN: 0-553-24708-5
    Many years after writing the first five SSR novels, Harrison returned to the character with this 'origin story'. In the process he made some substantial changes, so that what's said in this story isn't always consistent with Jim DiGriz's background as given in The Stainless Steel Rat. If you can get past that (and it shouldn't be hard), this is another fine and funny ride with the Stainless Steel Rat and his mentor, the supercriminal known as The Bishop.
  • STAINLESS STEEL RAT GETS DRAFTED
    Author: Harrison, Harry
    Copyright:1987
    Publisher: Bantam Books
    ISBN: 0-553-27307-8
    A direct sequel to A Stainless Steel Rat is Born. Jim is determined to a) escape from prison and b) bring justice to the man who killed his friend and mentor The Bishop. Unfortunately, the said bad guy is the dictator of an entire planet, and also the leader of its army. And he's about to head off on a mission to conquer another planet. What's a vengeance-minded stainless steel rat to do? Join that army, of course...
  • STAINLESS STEEL RAT JOINS THE CIRCUS
    Author: Harrison, Harry
    Copyright:1999
    Publisher: Tor Books
    ISBN: 0-812-57535-0

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