Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hal Spacejock by Simon Haynes

I've known about Hal Spacejock for a long time (Simon Haynes is one of my Nano friends) and tried to acquire a copy of the book; but, even mighty Amazon couldn't get me a paper copy of Hal Spacejock from Down Under when I first sought it out. I could have acquired a PDF download but I don't like sitting at the computer to read for any great length of time.

A few weeks ago, Hal Spacejock showed up as a free Kindle download -- this time in the pretty e-book form. And, now I have an iPad with a Kindle app, so I had that sucker loaded in nothing flat.

Hal Spacejock is a slap-stick outer space tale about a Firefly-like cargo spaceship called the Black Gull (not in the greatest shape; used for interplanetary transport). Hal Spacejock is the name of the pilot. Hal is out of work and out of money. Then, someone offers him a job he can't refuse. Described as a quick transport job, it is in fact a job that nobody else will take because the planet where he is supposed to pick up robot parts is currently a no-fly zone. The military is doing target practice and anyone who shows up will become a target.

Hal's new employer sends a robot by the name of Clunk to help with the piloting. Clunk is to be reconditioned upon their arrival because he's not in the greatest shape, either. As it turns out, Hal is a pretty bad pilot and Clunk has better manners than Hal, as well as piloting skills. And, there are many complications.

I'm not going to go into any great detail, but it takes a surprising amount of time for Hal to even get off the planet. Once that occurs, Hal and Clunk go through a string of adventures that make you think Hal is one of those Too Stupid to Live characters. Light-hearted and plot-heavy, Hal Spacejock is a book to read when you're in a mood for a fun read and willing to shut off your skepticism.

Normally, I don't read reviews before writing my own, but I did glance through the Amazon reviews and found that a lot of people found Hal unlikable. But, I think he warmed up as the book progressed. I knew Hal Spacejock is just the first in a series; it didn't bother me that he was more than a little rough around the edges. And, I liked Clunk so much that I paid slightly less attention to Hal and more to his friendly, mostly-competent, nearly-human robot and his spaceship's computer, which had vague hints of Douglas Adams.

Recommended for sci-fi lovers in the mood for a little crazy, action-packed fun. Be patient with Hal. It takes him some time to soften up but he improves toward the end. I'll be downloading the next book in the series, soon.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Naming the series after Hal Spacejock was a little joke I played on the publisher, the reading public and my own sales figures. Clunk is the more interesting character, even though HE doesn't get a book named after him. ('Clunk' doesn't have the same ring, unless you use a particularly large hammer.)

  2. Simon,

    It did surprise me to find that Hal Spacejock was his name, not just a description of him (fitting as it is). I love Clunk, but you're right -- doesn't quite have the book-naming quality. :) Thanks for dropping by! It was great finally getting to read your book. Can't wait to read on!

  3. I just downloaded this one too! I am not very familiar with this genre, but it sounded like it would be a lot of fun and give me something to chuckle over. I am planning on letting my husband read it too. Glad you had a good time with it!

  4. Zibilee,

    It's a great book for when you're in the mood for something light, silly, different. I read Hal Spacejock after my son was in a fender bender. It was just the kind of read I needed, that day. Hope you love it. :)

  5. I thought it sounded like it might have something in common with the Hitchhiker's Guide. I might have to check this out or point it out to my husband who is a huge Douglas Adams fan.

  6. I just went to amazon and got a kindle version since I saw that it's still free. :)

  7. Alyce,

    I wouldn't say the writing is close to Douglas Adams' style so much as that there are shades of similarity in the way the robots/computers respond -- which I thought was handled wonderfully. Clunk is a great character and so is the ship's computer. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's a very light-hearted book, especially good for when you're stressed out (I was, last week) and need something goofy to get your mind off things.


Thank you for visiting my blog! I use comment moderation because apparently my blog is a spam magnet. Don't worry. If you're not a robot, your comment will eventually show up and I will respond, with a few exceptions. If a comment smacks of advertising, contains a dubious link or is offensive, it will be deleted. I love to hear from real people! I'm a really chatty gal and I love your comments!