Thursday, October 26, 2006

Phule's Company

Phule's Company by Robert Asprin, 1990, Ace Books

I picked up this book on the cheap at a local book fair. I am somewhat familiar with the author's previous work through the Thieves' World series he helped edit, but that was it. I figured that this book would be a good way to sample some of his other work. In the end, I must admit that I was underwhelmed. There just wasn't really anything here to capture my interest. There were some interesting characters, but they weren't actually doing anything interesting, and because of that I found it very hard to finish the book, as I simply always had something better to do.

The basic plot is that our protagonist, Willard Phule, is put in charge of a bunch of washouts on a backwater world. He whips the unit into shape, gains face in a contest with an army unit, and fends off an alien "invasion." The invasion and battle with the army unit take up 40 pages, though, so we have a good 190 pages of Phule's interaction with the members of his unit. I found this very boring, and it was almost like the author was secretly writing a management book about getting the best out of your people by focusing on their strenghts. There wasn't any real action, there wasn't any adventure, it was just funny little stories about these quirky people in the unit. Very much not my thing. Other stories in the series are supposed to include more action, but I doubt I will be giving them a try anytime soon.

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