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17 June 2006 @ 10:37 pm
Phule's Company / Phule's Paradise - Robert Asprin  
Title: Phule's Company/Phule's Paradise
Author: Robert Asprin
Genre: SciFi, Comedy

Summary: The Space Legion is an army for hire, with a reputation for taking in the dregs of society (largely due to their policy of taking everyone and not asking any questions, plus promised anonymity—everyone goes by pseudonyms). The absolute worst company in the Legion is the Omega Mob, full of most inept soldiers and barely reformed former-criminals. All that changes, however, when megamillionaire Willard Phule (AKA Captain Jester) screws up and gets assigned as their CO. Phule is determined to make them the finest company in the Legion. Wacky hijinks ensue in the process.

The first book centers around Phule's takeover of the group, their contract on a swamp planet protecting miners, a confrontation with the Regular Army, and an alien invasion. In the second, the company is reassigned to serve guard duty at a casino and prevent a hostile takeover by organized crime.

Review: I love these books. I first read them when I was about twelve, so my perspective might be a little warped; but I picked them up on a whim last night, and still giggled the whole way through. There's nothing complicated about the books. Unlike Asprin's MYTH series, they aren't particularly pun-prone (titles aside); they're not too plot-heavy. What they do well, however, is character.

Phule is a charismatic millionaire who leads through force of personality; accompanying him is his down-to-earth butler, Beeker. (Beeker is something of a science fiction Jeeves, what with his ability to solve problems Phule doesn't realize exist, and his uncanny ability to anticipate his employer's exact needs.) Beeker also keeps a journal, which is excerpted in the novels. The rest of the characters are wacky members of the company and those who get caught up in Phule's command. They're surrounded by an extended cast of wacky Legionaires: a communications officer who's so shy she can't talk aloud; a chef who'll attack anyone who insults his food; a former biker ex-con supply sergeant who steals most of his inventory, to name a few.

The appeal of the story is how they fit together, how they play off each other. By the end, you genuinely are rooting for the team of losers to come out on top. They're a fun, easy read; the sort of books which, if they were better known, would doubtlessly have attracted a huge online fandom.
Current Mood: amusedamused
Imperius Infernus [Titan]infernus1218 on September 15th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
I really liked the first couple of books, becuase I thought they were really cleverly written... but the 2 or 3 books that have follwed these two are just horrible.

It's like the elements are there but no one bothered to give the book a soul. Completely a failed Frankenstein experiment.
sad lizard jackson just wants a friend: Stop the World!queenitsy on September 16th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
Agreed again! I meant to post an angry review about the third book, but forgot. It's so...terrible. What happens when you turn the series over to another, crappy writer...