Toby Frost’s début novel, Space Captain Smith, is a highly enjoyable read of daring-do and regular wit and humor.
The book takes steampunk into the far-flung future of the twenty-fifth-century British Space Empire, where our moustached, stiff-upper-lipped hero, Isambard Smith, battles a multitude of marvelous bad guys, such as the evil Empire of the Ghast and the religious fanatics of the Republic of New Eden.
He is, however, not alone, which is just as well as he is unfortunately a buffoon. His colorful and eclectic crew include a renegade sexbot, a New Age hippy girl and a skull-collecting but noble alien savage.
The result is a delightfully tongue-in-cheek comedy, parodying well-known science- and other fiction, expertly done in Toby Frost’s observational humor style.
There is a laugh on every page, oftentimes three, and Frost blends a ready and witty humor with the details one can expect about a British Space Empire. Stiff upper lips, tea and tiffin and the Victorian aesthetic and values add such character to the tale and will surely be appreciated by those both steampunk and not.
This story first appeared in Gatehouse Gazette #1 (July 2008), p. 13, with the headline “Space Captain Smith”.