Sunday, 20 January 2013

Hal Spacejock: Baker's Dough by Simon Haynes

Hal Spacejock: Baker's Dough by Simon Haynes is the fifth book in his Hal Spacejock series. I've read all the others, but it's definitely not necessary to have done so to enjoy this book. It's the kind of series that can be enjoyed just as much out of order. I have previously reviewed the second in the companion Hal Junior series for younger readers, Hal Junior: The Missing Case.
Robots have a tough life in Hal Spacejock's universe: as second-class citizens they have no rights, and most are overworked, mistreated, and recycled at the drop of a hat. When Kim Baker, a wealthy industrialist, leaves his vast fortune to an elderly robot, it's front page news. Unfortunately, the robot hasn't been seen for decades ...
Hal Spacejock is the captain of a cargo ship, haphazardly delivering cargo across the galaxy. His trusty sidekick is Clunk the robot — eminently more competent at just about everything than Hal is — and the ship itself is personified via the Navcom. In this adventure Hal and Clunk stumble into the middle of a mad rush to claim an inheritance left to a robot. The catch? Because robots are reprogrammed and have their memories wiped when they're sold to a new owner, no one is entirely sure exactly which robot is supposed to be inheriting. To make matters worse, the prospective inheritors and their owners have to go on a somewhat convoluted quest to dig up the robots' histories, all with a twenty-four hour time limit. High jinks ensue.

The Hal Spacejock books are light, fun and entertaining reads. Baker's Dough had me laughing and sniggering out loud several times. It was an easy book to pick up and during a stressful and busy week, it was the book I kept coming back to most consistently, despite being part way through two others.

Haynes doesn't skimp on the scientific plausibility (well... within reason) but he doesn't dwell on any of the science either. It was nice to read a book where the physics of weightlessness, for example, was actually mentioned as something relevant to the characters despite not being of high importance to the story. This sort of attention to detail is part of what kept me engaged at the story (as opposed to ranting at my husband/twitter/the reading device about a lazy slip of sciencefail) and contributed to making it a relaxing read. Also it had a strong ending which as I've typed this I realise I can't say much about without spoilers.

I highly recommend Baker's Dough (and all the other Hal Spacejock books) to fans of light-hearted science fiction. As I've said, the Hal Spacejock books don't need to be read in order to make sense; each is quite self-contained. I think each new book in the series has improved upon the ones before, however, so that might be an argument for starting at the beginning and working forwards.
4.5 / 5 stars

First published: July 2012
Series: Hal Spacejock, book 5 (but chronology is not important)
Format read: ebook (epub on iBooks)
Source: Purchased from Smashwords
Challenges: Australian Science Fiction Reading Challenge


  1. I've only read the first two, but it's great to see the fifth sounds just as good! I've "spoken" with Simon a few times on the internet, so it's easy to see where Hal gets it. ;o)

    1. I definite encourage you to keep reading the rest of them!