Tom Holt is an author with a rather wacky sense of humour. I suspect I would like him a lot. His novels are generally “mythopoeic novels which parody or take as their theme various aspects of mythology, history or literature and develop them in new and often humorous ways”. Thank you to Wikipedia for this quote.
I first picked up Ye Gods and was suffused with giggles. The story goes roughly like this: Jupiter has an affair with a human and a boy is born. Jason is a Hero in the old-fashioned sense of the word and goes round saving the world, only he’s starting to question it and things don’t quite go to plan. He meets Mars and goes all googly-eyed as Mars has always been his favourite pinup. Just to give you a taste of his writing style I’ve chosen one of my favourite quotes “Jason squared his shoulders, drew the Sword of – I couldn’t give a toss what it’s supposed to be called, he said to himself, I shall call it Freckles – and took one step forward.”
I next found The Portable Door and was just blown away by the ideas in it. It’s about a very ineffective young man who actually ends up with a job. It is a rather boring job but the firm, J.W. Wells & Co., is very different and office politics turns out to have a totally different meaning. I’m trying not to give away too much here but I’ll just mutter a few words and when you read the book you’ll understand. The Sorcerer by Gilbert & Sullivan, magic and a portable door that just needs a firm place to be used, also a sword. Holt has also written another couple of books about J.W. Wells & Co. which have the same kind of magic.
There are four authors I feel have the same kind of magic. Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt and Robert Asprin. They do things slightly differently but when I dip into one of their books I feel they are on the same wavelength. There’s a kind of manicness to them which weaves its way into a good, solid story with a solid plot and good characterisation.