The Worst Man On Mars by Mark Roman and Corben Duke

November 15, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘The Worst Man On Mars’ is a SF spoof which takes liberties with just about everything. It is in turn hilariously funny and just silly. It tells the tale of the British attempt to send a colony ship to the planet Mars where the colonists will take up residence in Botany Base. That’s the base that has been built by the robots sent years earlier with their manager super computer HarVard. If you were to ask the question ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ then this book would be a reference manual.


The story starts in Huddersfield, Yorkshire with retired science teacher Malcolm Brindle reminiscing over a fateful school excursion. Principle villain and student in this recurring nightmare is Flint Dougdale who, by many strange quirks of fate, has found himself to be Mission Commander of the Mayflower III ship to Mars. It’s because Brindle knows Dougdale as a youth that he has pessimistic views on the likely outcome of the mission.

Flint Dugdale is not what you might call a nice person. He’s rather large with a pronounced beer belly and was selected for the flight by the mission’s main sponsors, Stallion Lager. His favourites are darts, pies and, of course, Stallion Lager. You would not be to surprised that he was previously employed as a debt collector where his tendency to violence is considered an asset. He becomes leader of the mission part-way through after there is a couple of ‘accidents’. Fatal accidents, of course.

There is a mixture of human characters on board that make up the crew compliment. My favourite is Miss Leach and her inflatable literary reading companion, Mr. Darcy. Commander Dougdale has two junior members of staff, Lieutenant Willie Warner and Lieutenant Zak Johnstone. Neither of them will be remembered as the bravest members of the mission. That’s assuming they are remembered at all.

While it would be easy to concentrate on the humans, there are the robots to consider and not forgetting HarVard, the so-called super computer. Whoever sold HarVard to the mission could probably be done under the Trade Descriptions Act. It’s decision-making process is a little questionable to say the least. There’s a multitude of builder robots and a polish robotic contingent. The robots have well-developed personalities, including two who are not unlike Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. They are only ‘like’ those famous people to help avoid confusion and more importantly copyright infringement.

Each chapter has a cartoon drawing at the beginning which is a very nice touch. There is also a map of the Botany Base and the surrounding area on Mars at the beginning of the book. Like lots of things in this book it has been borrowed from something else. It is often done with very comic effect. Some parts of the book had me laughing so much I had to literally put it down and step away. The short chapters keep the pace of the story moving along nicely.

If I was to have any criticisms, it would be that the book is both too long and too short. There’s a fairly abrupt ending which leads onto a fairly long epilogue that ties up the loose ends. I must admit before the abrupt ending I was wondering where the plot was going as the major plot line seemed to have been concluded earlier. That’s why I say the books possibly too long but, then again, there were other elements which weren’t concluded, so you could say the books to short.

If you are looking for a comedy Science Fiction tale, then ‘The Worst Man On Mars’ certainly fits the bill. It will give your sense of humour a good work out.

Andy Whitaker

November 2016

(pub: Grand Mal Press. 412 page paperback. Price: £10.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-5369-3097-9. Ebook: £ 1.99(UK). ASIN: B01LDRSEQU)

check out website: www.grandmalpress.com

Category: Books, MEDIA, Scifi

About the Author ()

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties. My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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