God Emperor of Didcot is the second book featuring Space Captain Smith (the first being cunningly entitled Space Captain Smith). It’s a sci-fi comedy set in the fairly distant future and detailing the escapades of the heroic space captain as he battles the evil enemies of the British Space Empire.
The sci-fi world Smith inhabits is very much Blackadder meets Red Dwarf. There is a lot of gentle mockery, both of the British and Johnny Foreigner. Moments of amusement are almost constant, and some parts are quite hilarious.
Smith, equipped with a moustache and healthy distrust of the French, has a small but interesting crew, including a navigator android who is actually an escaped sex toy and a hippy Smith desperately wants to get into bed. However, my personal favourite is Suruk the Slayer, a Morlock psychopath who collects severed heads and enjoys mocking Carveth (the navigator).
The author doesn’t get bogged down with scientific technicalities, and the plot is nice and fast-paced. Unlike the fantasy I usually read, this is absolutely not gritty, although there’s plenty of violence. The comedy’s often sarcastic and satirical, which suits me and fits in nicely with the British theme.
In God Emperor of Didcot, Smith is ordered to the planet Didcot, home of the empire’s most productive tea plantations, to try and head off a potential insurrection by lunatic zealots. Naturally, things go awry, and our British hero must use all his cunning to try and claim victory.
The book is simple, very enjoyable and well worth reading. The only potential downside is that I only have one more Space Captain Smith book to read now. Hopefully, more will be forthcoming.