Review: The Soddit / Author: Adam Roberts / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
The Soddit is the inevitable cash-in parody novel of The Hobbit, re-released in time for the new movie. It originally came out in 2003, (to cash-in on the Lord of the Rings movies), which is why you may have seen it before. Ironically, the sub-title of the book is Let’s Cash in Again, proving the rule that true words are often spoken in jest. This newer, smaller version of the same novel is as good as ever and it’s nice to see it is easily available again, because as parodies go, it’s a good one.
Adam Roberts (who is the author of this little book, despite the not-so-clever pseudonym) is better known for his work such as Salt and Jack Glass , and knows how to tell a story in a clever and engaging way. This extends to his parody work, which though slightly bland in tone, is filled with well observed barbs at Tolkien’s original. The humour is also layered on thick; every possible gag is here, from silly names and pointing out plot holes to breaking the fourth wall and cross-examining the rambling structure of The Hobbit. Highlights include some delightful observations about how elves are portrayed in fantasy fiction and a collection of fake adverts in the back, including a teaser for the parody novel of this parody novel, in which all the characters are potatoes. Such an animal does not exist, but give it time. Whilst we’re on the subject of sequels, as far as I am aware, the second parody in this series, The Sellamillion: The Disappointing 'Other' Book, has not been reprinted, at least not yet.
At best, this is a stocking filler; it’s funny enough for a rainy day, and is perhaps a decent distraction if you have to spend too long on the toilet, but it’s never going to be on anyone’s list of favourite books, not even the author’s.