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Pyramid Scheme Hardcover – October 2, 2001

26 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October 2, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this SF-fantasy romp through classical myth, the authors of Rats, Bats, and Vats offer a charmingly picaresque journey that begins when an artifact of the alien Krim lands in the University of Chicago library and starts abducting people. Few of the artifact's victims return alive, and some do not return at all. Among those abducted into a Krim-twisted version of the ancient Mediterranean world are street-smart university custodian Lamont Jackson, biologist Elizabeth De Beer, paratrooper sergeant Anibal Cruz and, most crucially, mythological scholar Jerry Lukacs. Weedy and absent-minded, Lukacs is the only one who can advise the exiles on how to outwit Odysseus (who has the ethics of a junk-bond dealer) or win the good will of Medea (much maligned, but accompanied by two dragons who need a lot to eat). Assembling allies from different mythologies as they go along, the exiles must strive to undo the Krim's corruption of the Olympians before they can hope to effect a return to their own world. The novel is full of historical, mythological and folkloric erudition, as well as wit (usually laced with puns), coincidences, broadly painted characters and a vast profusion of the verbal equivalent of sight gags. Since the individual parts are sufficiently entertaining, the reader won't worry much about the whole's lack of integrity.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When a mysterious black pyramid from outer space crash-lands inside Chicago's Regenstein Library, a mythographer, a marine biologist, two soldiers, and the library's maintenance man are tagged by the U.S. to investigate the phenomenon only to find themselves in the company of Odysseus and his bewildered crew. The coauthors of Rats, Bats and Vats combine ancient history with alien encounters in a rollicking cross-genre adventure that belongs in most libraries.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Pyramid
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (October 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067131839X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671318390
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,200,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Oso Blanco on October 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Many years ago, L. Sprague deCamp and Fletcher Pratt created "The Incomplete Enchanter", the beginning of a series of wonderful romps in which modern humans got dropped into alternate worlds where myth and magic were real and the Norse Gods just happened to be heading into Ragnarok. After that first episode, things got REALLY weird. The stories have since gone on to become classics.
Now Flint and Freer have revived this tradition of riotous fun. Our unlikely band of heroes consists of a U. of Chicago Professor who specializes in ancient myths, a lady guest researcher from South Africa who happens to be A: stacked, B: very tough and C: has a purse which is a survival kit in itself,
and a couple of bewildered U.S. Army soldiers, all of whom have been drafted for a trip through both Greek and Egyptian mythologies. I'll save you from having to guess: EVERYTHING surrounding them is a death trap and the Gods themselves are looking for our band's collective butts.
How they deal with all of this, figure out whattheheck is really going on, cope with the REAL heroes behind the Iliad, etc, and try to get out with minimal damage, was a barrel of laughs. There are some events in the "outside world", as well, involving serious disrespect for Established Authority that were worth the reading even without our heroes' doings.
This one is in my permanent collection. You can't have it. Go get your own copy. :)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By WFK on August 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a boy I loved reading those ancient tales about Odysseus and his adventures. As a grown-up I realize that he did survive it all because he was the meanest SOB of them all. A fact he could conveniently forget to tell his biographer Homer because he was the only survivor. And the gods were even worse.
So when an alien probe arrives at the university of Chicago and snatches people to send them into the realm of Greek mythology most quickly reappear dead. Except for one group who manages to survive and boy, do they really have adventures to tell.
The experience of living in South Africa probably shaped the humor of Dave Freer in a way similar to that of Tom Sharpe: the world is crazy, people are crazy, so do not worry but go on living. And do not mind the gods, they are crazy too.
The book is an ongoing joke, funny and not to be taken seriously. People who know the Greek mythology will appreciate the lighter view at it. The excursion to Egypt and its gods was unnecessary and could have waited for the next book. I hope there will be another one because the world is so much better when you can laugh at the gods?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on December 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A black pyramid descends from space onto the University of Chicago campus and starts to grow, swallowing people and spitting many, but not all, of them out as corpses. One group, including two soldiers, a policeman, two professors, and a repairman, is the exception. They don't die. Inside the pyramid, they find an entire universe derived from ancient myth. Wily Odysseus (from Homer's Odyssey) wants to enslave them, the Olympian Gods want them dead, and some pyramid-related force is trying to control all of their actions while simultaneously attempting to provoke a nuclear attack by the U.S. government.
Authors Dave Freer and Eric Flint offer a fast-paced and largely light-hearted romp through the underside of the Greek myths. Rather than the sugar-coated version, Freer and Flint go back to the unvarnished originals where Zeus perpetually punishes Prometheus for his gift of fire to man, and where wise Athena turned a woman into a spider for daring to think that her weaving could compete with that of a god. At the same time, they develop characters that are both likable and believable.
While PYRAMID SCHEME is a likable romp, several plot holes weaken the story by making it seem episodic rather than fully integrated. The Olympian conflict between the present-day humans and the Olympian Gods is clearly a critical element in the story, yet it is unclear exactly how this conflict resolves the problems for the protagonists, nor how it impacts the pyramid-masters. The Odyssey elements don't really advance the plot at all. Finally, the escape from the pyramid could have been achieved without all of the rest of the story (and by the way, whatever happened to Police Lieutenant Salinas?).
Flaws aside, PYRAMID SCHEME is an enjoyable read. Likable characters and an action-filled story line certainly compensate for any structural problems and make this novel worth the investment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Keith Cunningham on April 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a very fun book to read. Dr. Lucaks and his crew of modern day snatchees, get transported inside an alien probe and sent to a world of ancient myth. Look for flying puns, action to the extreme, and some of the strangest situations you and I will ever come across. This book is funny, funny, funny; but they also threw in some far deeper stuff. The characters are interesting, the action is exciting, and there are twists and turns abound. Good for those who like action/adventure SF, or for those who like humor SF. Especially good for those who like both. And, oh yeah. . .don't mention dwarf tossing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Wallach VINE VOICE on December 30, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A super-sophisticated, alien civilization has developed an unusual way of propagating itself. Wherever it senses nuclear power being developed, it sends out an interstellar probe. The probe is impervious to any kind of weaponry since it absorbs all energies directed at it. It also senses energies in people, and if the people have enough anger or other emotions in them, then the probe "snatches" them in to itself. In most cases, the people are killed in the probe and returned to Earth - dead.As it absorbs the energies, the probe itself expands, and if nuclear weapons are used against it, then it blossoms enough to take over the whole world for its alien masters. That is the sinister background behind this book, but do not put it away because of that description! You see, while the backstory is sinister, the actual book itself is hilariously funny!

After the alien probe lands in Chicago, it does its thing. It manages to snag a bunch of people including one group that it would ordinarily have ignored, but because the whole group was engaged in a melee at the time, everyone who was touching the targeted individual got transported into the probe. And what a world awaits the group! It turns out that the way the alien probe extracts energies from people is by recreating mythical and cruel worlds and it expects that the modern humans would quickly anger someone in the mythical world and be killed or else. The problems with the group that it transported is that they were not angry people, but instead were the kinds of people who ask questions about what is going on and try to affect the situation in their favor.

As the motley group gets acclimated to their surroundings they find themselves in the middle of the Homeric saga and are caught between the whirlpool and Scylla.
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