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The Red Tape War Hardcover – April, 1991

3.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In designing their book as a round robin, Chalker ( The Return of Nathan Brazil ), Resnick ( Second Contact ) and Effinger ( When Gravity Fails ) seem to have been more interested in presenting the next author with a challenge ("Write your way out of this!") than they were in continuity, plot or character. Millard Fillmore Pierce (most names are pseudo-significant, such as the battleship Mahatma Gandhi, captain Nathan Bolivia) appears in five different guises, each a member of a different species from a different parallel universe; all of them speak English and most of them intend to take over the human Pierce's galaxy. That none succeeds is largely due to red tape: so many forms must be filled out in order even to fire a shot that battleships carry hundreds of bureaucrats to support each soldier. What could have been light entertainment is defeated by the authors' arch, feckless comments to one another--with discussions on writing the book included as part of the book. Only a blindly dedicated fan will be pleased with this collaboration.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (April 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312851510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312851514
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,830,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is not meant to be a widely popular book. It was written as a lark, ironically in a round Robin style. It is humorous and a cutting twist on bureaucracy. It is evident without reading the story behind the writing of the story that time passed and attention dwindled during the course.
I immediately got swept into the story, which is a rare event.
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Format: Hardcover
Three science fiction masters each take turns trying to write the other two into a hole. An epic space opera revolving around a bewildered human, several various and assorted aliens, and a buxom space cowgirl named Marshmallow are pawns, riding the edge of one cliffhanger after another as Chalker, Resnick and Effinger move them about an absurd verbal chessboard.
A truly unique concept in novelization, and completely unconcerned with conventional storytelling, this is one of the funniest (and strangest) books to be written by an American in recent memory.
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Format: Paperback
A quote from this book:

"To paraphrase J. B. S. Haldane, the Universe not only held more red tape than anyone imagined: it held more red tape than anyone could imagine."

This entertaining screwball SF comedy is not so much a collaboration as a literary battle.

Imagine a cross between a Science Fiction comedy such as"Spaceballs [DVD] [1987]" or "Galaxy Quest [DVD] [2000]," and a parody of bureaucracy gone mad such as Scott Adams' "Dilbert" or "Office Life" by Keith Waterhouse.

Then imagine that the story was written in consecutive sections by three authors all of whom were competing to try to set the author of the following chapter an impossible problem. And you have some idea what "The Red Tape War" by Jack Chalker, Mike Resnick, and George Alec Effinger is like.

Highly amusing, completely nonsensical, but a little too close to home if you have ever tried to deal with a government or large company bureaurcracy.
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By A Customer on May 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is a terrific collaborative work.
Effinger, Chalker, Resnick take turns writing
chapters, each more imaginatively absurd than
the last. Hilarious!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a truly enjoyable book - as long as you're not looking for serious science fiction, but rather the result of drunken sci-fi speculation. It has the authors parodying each other's common modus operandi (such as Resnick making fun of Chalker's occasional explorations into body-swapping), tales - probably true - of their infighting, all interwoven into a story so delightfully full of plot holes and MacGuffins that you soon learn to stop worrying and have fun with the next crazy alien to come onto the scene and mess everything up.

If you're into metahumor, this book was well ahead of its time.
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