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Distinguished Wordsmith
Raven_Lunatic
Posts: 302
Registered: ‎10-13-2008

Tom Holt

I haven't seen any discussion threads about Holt, so I'm starting one.

 

I discovered Tom Holt the same trip to the bookstore I discovered Terry Pratchett. There wasn't a big selection, so I picked out two books with interesting titles- The Fifth Elephant and Nothing But Blue Skies- and took them back to my hotel room. I fell in love. My library didn't have much in the way of Holt, but I ordered Snow White and the Seven Samurai from the internet, and began buying his stuff from Barnes & Noble.

 

I've found Tom Holt to be a tremendously uneven writer. His books span the gamut from really good to absolutely horrible. He's written good books with one major logical flaw, mediocre books with great monologues, and silly books that are supposed to be funny, but aren't. He's written many, many characters with the names of Neville or Jane. He's written more or less the same scenario for 80% of his books. You never know when you pick one of his up whether it will be a laugh-fest or a clunker.

 

IMO, his four best books are the aforementioned Blue Skies and Snow White, plus Faust Among Equals, and the immortal Who's Afraid of Beowolf?. My Hero is decent. The Portable Door is fairly good, although its sequels involve the most blatant ret-conning I've laid eyes on. Wish You Were Here almost makes the top five, but it has a subplot which is poorly explained and makes no sense.

 

Be warned- his major characteristic is sheer, unadulterated silly. If you're not looking for any Serious Social Messages, but just want to relax with crazy plots, off-the-wall metaphors, quotable one-liners, and a lot of pretty good attempts at bringing slapstick to the printed page, then Tom Holt is the guy for you.

 

He also wrote one of my favorite paragraphs in all of literature:

 

Gordan thought about it. On the one hand, he didn't like the thought of getting out of there because Neville had been able to decipher a secret access code using his third eye. On the other hand... as the old adage goes, if you're starving in the desert and a headless skeleton riding a winged fiery camel swoops down out of thin air and hands you a cheeseburger, eat the cheeseburger.
-from Nothing But Blue Skies, pg. 139

_______________
"Fear not, for our army is strong and courageous."
"Just hope they don't sober up before we get there".
-Bored of the Rings
Moderator
paulgoatallen
Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tom Holt

Raven:

You know I love throwing in my two cents worth but I really bring anything to this thread because I have never read Tom Holt – I hadn't even heard of him before reading this thread! – so I'll just lurk around to see what everyone else says...

Paul 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
Distinguished Correspondent
Bradinator1
Posts: 241
Registered: ‎10-21-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Tom Holt

I'm always on the look out for new authors that do comedy type fantasy/sci-fi. I'll have to check this out. Like Paul, I never heard of Tom Holt. I'll have to hunt one of these down and get some feedback out on this thread. Thanks for the tip, Raven!

 

 

Brad

"Stand back everyone, nothing here to see
Just imminent danger, in the middle of it, me
Yes, Captain Hammers here, hair blowing in the breeze
And the day needs my saving expertise" - Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) from "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Tom Holt

[ Edited ]

Raven_Lunatic wrote:

I haven't seen any discussion threads about Holt, so I'm starting one.

 

I discovered Tom Holt the same trip to the bookstore I discovered Terry Pratchett. There wasn't a big selection, so I picked out two books with interesting titles- The Fifth Elephant and Nothing But Blue Skies- and took them back to my hotel room. I fell in love. My library didn't have much in the way of Holt, but I ordered Snow White and the Seven Samurai from the internet, and began buying his stuff from Barnes & Noble.

 

I've found Tom Holt to be a tremendously uneven writer. His books span the gamut from really good to absolutely horrible. He's written good books with one major logical flaw, mediocre books with great monologues, and silly books that are supposed to be funny, but aren't. He's written many, many characters with the names of Neville or Jane. He's written more or less the same scenario for 80% of his books. You never know when you pick one of his up whether it will be a laugh-fest or a clunker.

 

IMO, his four best books are the aforementioned Blue Skies and Snow White, plus Faust Among Equals, and the immortal Who's Afraid of Beowolf?. My Hero is decent. The Portable Door is fairly good, although its sequels involve the most blatant ret-conning I've laid eyes on. Wish You Were Here almost makes the top five, but it has a subplot which is poorly explained and makes no sense.

 

Be warned- his major characteristic is sheer, unadulterated silly. If you're not looking for any Serious Social Messages, but just want to relax with crazy plots, off-the-wall metaphors, quotable one-liners, and a lot of pretty good attempts at bringing slapstick to the printed page, then Tom Holt is the guy for you.

 

He also wrote one of my favorite paragraphs in all of literature:

 

Gordan thought about it. On the one hand, he didn't like the thought of getting out of there because Neville had been able to decipher a secret access code using his third eye. On the other hand... as the old adage goes, if you're starving in the desert and a headless skeleton riding a winged fiery camel swoops down out of thin air and hands you a cheeseburger, eat the cheeseburger.
-from Nothing But Blue Skies, pg. 139


I've only ran in to a couple of Holt's books before, "Who's afraid of Beowulf?" and "Expecting something taller". Those were both well think the dryest of python mixed with Wagner and Norse references. Beowulf was chuckle funny. Expecting is soo much funnier, you got to love the badger. If you like english tilted funny books, I'd recomend them.

Message Edited by TiggerBear on 02-24-2009 05:20 PM
New User
Montanian
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎03-04-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Tom Holt

Those two, Beowulf & Someone Taller were my first two Tom Holts and I agree they may be the best.  His novel focusing on the Flying Dutchman was fun too.  While they do tend to get looser and thicker (maybe he just needs a violent book editor who loves slim volumes), they remain more fun than most.  Anyone who enjoys Monty Python material or Eric Idle and Terry Jones commentaries as well as Douglas Adams' will find these mad fun with plenty of obscure references to classical mythology and modern England.    When Holt tries to be funny and bombs a bit, he's still funnier than most full-time funnymen (the fact he's a lawyer is quite a handicap to overcome.)