We Brits like to take our sci-fi seriously, but not ourselves. Check out these classic sci-fi stories with a sense of humor to get you in the mood for the newest season of "Doctor Who":
Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens by Mark Speed
What if the BBC had the wrong story? For fifty years, it is actually overlooked twin brother Doctor How who has held the line against the forces of darkness and stupidity.
When illegal aliens try to hack How's Spectrel (TARDIS is a very rude word where he comes from), it comes just as he suspects his estranged cousin Where has been compromised. When reports come in of mysterious attacks by alien creatures, Doctor How has to rely on his new assistant Kevin, a petty criminal from south London, and Trinity, a morphing super-predator, as he counters this threat to humanity's existence.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
One Thursday lunchtime the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, a man in his dressing gown whose house was demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however the weekend has only just begun, and the Galaxy is a very, very, very large and startling place. Arthur's odyssey through space has only just begun.
If you haven't read this classic, now is the time. People are still chucking over lines they first heard in 1979.
Mort by Terry Pratchett
Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job.
Henceforth, Death is no longer going to be the end, merely the means to an end. It's an offer Mort can't refuse. As Death's apprentice he'll have free board, use of the company horse - and being dead isn't compulsory. It's a dream job - until he discovers that it can be a killer on his love life...
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
Leaving Swindon behind her to hide out in the Well of Lost Plots (the place where all fiction is created), Thursday Next, Literary Detective and soon-to-be one parent family, ponders her next move from within an unpublished book of dubious merit entitled Caversham Heights
. Landen, her husband, is still eradicated, Aornis Hades is meddling with Thursday's memory, and Miss Havisham -- when not sewing up plot-holes in 'Mill on the Floss' - is trying to break the land-speed record on the A409. But something is rotten in the state of Jurisfiction. Perkins is "accidentally" eaten by the minotaur, and Snell succumbs to the Mispeling Vyrus. As a shadow looms over popular fiction, Thursday must keep her wits about her and discover not only what is going on, but also who she can trust to tell about it.
The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison
Slippery Jim, AKA The Stainless Steel Rat, may be the greatest con-man of all time. He's charming and quick-witted, a master thief and adventurer. Yet the road to infamy doesn't always run smooth and Jim diGriz finds himself forced into serving the Special Corps elite law enforcement agency and confronting the beautiful but deadly Angelina - his future wife! Things get even stranger for the Rat when he has to travel through time to stop a master criminal meddling with the past... and then help overthrow an evil President by running for the job himself.
A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
Substance D - otherwise known as Death -- is the most dangerous drug ever to find its way on to the black market. It destroys the links between the brain's two hemispheres, leading first to disorientation and then to complete and irreversible brain damage. Bob Arctor, undercover narcotics agent, is trying to find a lead to the source of supply, but to pass as an addict he must become a user, and soon, without knowing what is happening to him, he is as dependent as any of the addicts he is monitoring.
Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt
All Malcolm Fisher did was run over a badger. Unfortunately the badger turned out to be Ingolf, last of the giants. With his dying breath he reluctantly gave Malcolm two gifts of power and made him ruler of the world. Based on Wagner's opera "Ring Cycle," boy meets badger, badger becomes giant, giant dies, boy meets a whole load of other Gods, demi-gods and Valkyries. Then boy meets girl... What's not to like?
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Fat Charlie Nancy is not actually fat. He was fat once but he is definitely not fat now. No, right now Fat Charlie Nancy is angry, confused and more than a little scared - right now his life is spinning out of control, and it is all his dad's fault.
If his rotter of an estranged father hadn't dropped dead at a karaoke night, Charlie would still be blissfully unaware that his dad was Anansi the spider god. He would have no idea that he has a brother called Spider, who is also a god. And there would be no chance that said brother would be trying to take over his life, flat and fiancée, or, to make matters worse, be doing a much better job of it than him. Desperate to reclaim his life, Charlie enlists the help of four more-than-slightly eccentric old ladies and their unique brand of voodoo - and between them they unleash a bitter and twisted force to get rid of Spider.