Books by Eric Idle

Released: Sept. 16, 1999

Science-fiction comedy-thriller from the ex-Monty Python star and children's writer. Narrator Bill Reynolds, a professor of evolutionary theory, unearths an old Ph.D dissertation that perceptively examines the wellsprings of comedy—and that was summarily rejected because its author, Carlton, was a robot. Carlton's ideas are too good to waste, thinks Reynolds, who investigates with larcenous intent. Carlton was the property of a bush-league comic duo, Lewis Ashby and Alex Muscroft, who worked the circuit between Saturn and Mars. Their adventures begin when Lewis and Alex audition for a gig aboard the huge luxury interplanetary liner Princess Diana but, fatally, insult the unspeakably dreadful celebrity Brenda Woolley. With their other gigs suddenly and inexplicably canceled, they decide to head for Mars. At the colony world H9, Alex falls headlong for gorgeous Katy Wallace—but her terrorist associates promptly sabotage H9. While mentally constructing his comedy thesis, Carlton rescues Katy from the imploding planetoid, then saves everyone from a reproducing bomb aboard their own ship. Afterward, stranded and slowly freezing in the cold of space, Carlton experiences a revelation: levity, the opposite of gravity, is the fundamental force that causes the universe to expand—at the speed of laughter! Now he even understands irony. Once thawed out, Carlton must protect his humans from the terrorists who wish their silence. Often delightful, with fair-to-middling thriller elements and a merry yet thoughtful analysis of comedy: should entertain everybody bar the terminally unamused. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

When a Monty Python alum offers a novelization of an Edward Lear poem, it's practically guaranteed to be a Silly Walk. Evolution's very governor, the fabulous Bong Tree, has disappeared from a museum on the shores of Lake Pipple-popple, and two parties are out to track it down: the nefarious Fire Lord with his sulfurous but inept minions, and the familiar furred and feathered sweethearts. It's a long chase, over sea, the Great Gromboolian Plain, and the Land of Water, past Pie-rats, reanimated dinosaur fossils, and the Mulberry Jam Pits, with all sorts of Learian flora and fauna to be met along the way—some of it ready to burst into song. The Fire Lord imposes an Ice Age that leaves Owl frozen solid, but Pussycat's kiss melts bird and climate too; all rush off just in time to save the Bong Tree (which closely resembles a wilted leek) and bombard the Fire Lord with pies. The wedding proceeds, to the tune of the ``Wedding April'' (March is too cold for weddings), and Owl and Pussycat are last seen ``hand in hand on the edge of the sand,'' dancing by the light of the moon. Illustrated with a mix of Lear's sketches and new pen-and-ink drawings in the same spirit, this delivers the kind of funny business for which Idle is known, and will probably appease adult Python fans who wish to pass on a gentler form of the lunacy to their children. (Fiction. 10-12) Read full book review >