I think we have a problem in fantasy and science fiction when it comes to books that make us laugh. In film, a movie like The Guardians of the Galaxy comes along and not only do we embrace it, but we largely (Yes, I’m looking at you, Drax. No, not literally) laud the humor and the outlandish space opera elements and implausible science. But when it comes to SFF fiction, we tend to do two things:
Diminish the value of the work because it’s simply entertaining.
Diminish the value of the work because it’s not Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
This summer I’m publishing three books that have various levels of “ballsy chicanery,” outright slapstick, and sardonic plots. They are, respectively, Dark Run by Mike Brooks, which is a heist novel/space opera; Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja, which is a humorous military SF novel and the funniest SF novel I’ve read since Redshirts; and The Last Adventure of Constance Verity by A. Lee Martinez, which hits Joss Whedon levels of clever snark and feels. Two debut novels, and an award-winning pro. Now I’m not talking about critical reception, because I’m not about to get into the merits of the reception on a particular review of one of my books as that’s just crass and unprofessional. I’m talking about how we value humor in this post-Pratchett industry—that knee-jerk reaction that feels specific to the use and value of humor in the field. So I thought I’d talk about ten of my personal favorite SFF works that made me crack up.