It happened long ago, in the dark ages of CRT monitors, when I first received a short forum message with :-) at the end. I stared at the message for a long minute(s) before giving up of decoding its meaning. It came from a well respected friend of mine so I responded with short reply:

"What!?"

"You have to turn your screen 90 degrees clockwise." Answer came promptly.

My CRT was large and heavy and it looked way too dangerous to tilt it that way so after little brainstorming the problem, I concluded there's a better way of achieving the same goal.

I tilted my head 90 degrees anticlockwise.

"Aaaaaah!!!" I said promptly and after realising the picture, big smile on my face slowly morphed into loud laughter. So I typed back:

"Wow!"

I didn't have to wait long for the next message:

"LOL!"

"What!?" - I quickly copy/pasted my earlier message but realised I was too not informed about new internet fashion so I canceled the message and opened new Netscape window instead, called www.altavista.com and 'googled' new internet words. Ever since then LOL is on the top of my list of favorite acronyms. Along with all those cute ASCII faces. ;-)


In my case, and probably with many people as well, laughter is one of those most powerful cure for everything. The all mighty vaccine for all diseases. Especially boredom and poor moodiness. LOL moments, somehow come naturally with live social occasions and in movies but in books they have one extra dimension. I really can't explain why is that. Perhaps funny moments in written world often come unexpected and more genuine. Take for instance Andy Weir's "The Martian" - the hilarious parts in the book were genuinely funnier than in the film. At least with me... Well, nevermind that, so to get to the chase, last month I read three extraordinary funny books in the realm of science fiction and space exploration. So here they are in this short review, sorted by the count of LOL moments I had during reading. In descending order of course.

The first one was "Where the Hell is Tesla?" by Rob Dircks. I stumbled to this one by accident and boy I am glad I did. Nikola Tesla is one of my favorite men in the history of people, science and engineering and here in Serbia, especially during my childhood, Tesla was idealised and always portrayed in too serious manner. Anyhow, when I saw the title with Tesla playing the major role in the comedy story I couldn't resist and I didn't regret a single penny. It was by far the funniest book I read in a while. It had it all, decent science fiction based on cutting edge scientific theories of the multiverse, the romance and friendship within different storylines, cute aliens, sci-fi battles of enormous proportions, great style of writing, Nikola Tesla in the most entertaining meaning of the word and of course ... Chip. I am not going to spoil the reading for you but I will tell you this. On one occasion, I almost dropped my Kindle on the hard floor caused by one of the strongest LOL moments. Enough said.


The second is "Jazz of Artemis". In context of today's post, this is how I would name the book if I was Andy Weir. Of course, his new book is not a comedy per se. But it is not "The Martian" as well. However, in the realm of the funny moments it is a decent sequel. Way better and much funnier. Jazz is ... let me find the right word ... extraordinary girl on the multiple levels. I enjoyed her adventures fully and I do hope for the real sequel this time. I mean with Jazz around, what can go wrong on the Moon? I really hope there will be the movie after this one as well but not solely because of the entertainment part and all the LOL moments, especially with that Svoboda guy and his ability to manufacture various devices that do or do not belong to ESA blueprints and worksheets.

But seriously, what Andy Weir did with creating a fully functional city on the moon with both working technology and society organisation is amazing and also extraordinary. It definitely deserves the motion pictures and I am sure filming the movie that takes entire story and action on the moon is another challenge. I am sure Ridley Scott is buzzing his mind with this as we speak.


Finally and to use the cliché, the last but not the least comes the good old British humor. Something I grew up with all the great TV shows like "Monty Python" and "Only Fools and Horses" or short comedy sketches and skits by Dave Allen, Benny Hill, Rowan Atkinson and others. But in the flashlight of the parody novels the throne is still with Douglas Adams and his "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". This was the first book I experienced LOL moments with, way before LOL acronym was ever invented. "The Worst Man on Mars" by Mark Roman and Corben Duke was probably the most similar novel I read in a long while.

This is also a parody, but not really as much as the famous predecessor. This book follows the plausible science fiction and doesn't go into wild imagination, like the restaurant at the end of the universe or "42". I really did like many technological backgrounds inside, like artificial intelligence or space elevator for example. But the humor with this one comes first and the robots in their sitcom on Mars are something I do recommend warmly.

:-)

Refs:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25053578-where-the-hell-is-tesla
http://www.andyweirauthor.com/books/artemis-hc
https://www.amazon.com/Worst-Man-Mars-Mark-Roman/dp/1536930970
http://www.milanzivic.com/2013/06/dave-allen.html
https://www.space.com/38725-artemis-andy-weir-author-interview.html