British Space Empire

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The British Space Empire as mapped by Wikipedia
Space Captain Smith
God Emperor of Didcot
Wrath of the Lemming men
A Game of Battleships
End of Empires (Coming soon)

This article is a snub. You can improve it by getting the damn thing posted on Wikipedia.

The British Space Empire(Citation needed) is the setting for a series of a comedy science-fiction novels rumoured to have been published since 2008. They were written by Toby Frost, a shadowy figure whose existence has never been proven. It has no Wikipedia page, and hence does not officially exist. Such unofficial non-existence places it in the same bracket as the Loch Ness Monster, Area 51 and, until quite recently, MI6. Like all of these things, it is exciting. Unlike all these things, it is not on Wikipedia.


Setting

It is the 25nd century. The British Space Empire spans Known Space, bringing democracy and sensible tailoring to a savage galaxy, whether it likes it or not. In a million cities on a thousand planets, order and decency rule supreme. The grim darkness of the far future has been briskly told to stop moping about and make itself useful, or there will be trouble. It is an era of vigorous - some might say brutal - optimism.

But the empire is not safe. Enemies are everywhere. The forces of Abroad, maddened by jealousy of Britain and its fine cuisine, either flounce around or grovel before their brutish masters. Frenzied lemming men and jabbering cultists assail the empire's borders, hungry for innocent blood. And, worst of all, from the depths of space come the ant-soldiers of the Ghast Empire, endless, ruthless and mindless in their thirst to annex everything in their path.

To live in such days takes moral fibre by the bucketload. Only one thing is certain in the Space Empire: you will be civilised or, by God, you will be civilised.

Overview

The British Space Empire is one of a number of space empires of the various nations of Earth. It is implied that the British Space Empire, if not actually the largest of these, is definitely the best. The Empire rules a number of alien species, chief among them the M’Lak, who are referred to as Morlocks by humans who cannot be bothered to talk funny foreign talk. It also includes a number of self-governing worlds inhabited by groups of humans whose peculiar habits and interests force them to live apart from the majority of society.

The Empire, which is more-or-less benevolent (or at least not actually evil), is threatened by the Ghasts, a species of man-sized aliens similar to army ants. The Ghast Empire is highly militarised and outnumbers the armies of Earth several times over: however, unlike the British, its soldiers lack Moral Fibre

"System" of Government

It is commonly thought, abroad, that King Victor rules the country absolutely, and that the citizenry, who divide neatly into cowardly peers and plucky workers, are subservient to his every whim. The reality is more complex.

King Victor and Queen Kylie act as the heads of state, but ultimately the Space Empire is a democracy. Their main functions are to open Parliament, open sports centres, appear on souvenir mugs and give tourists something to point at. The House of Commons passes laws that govern the Space Empire. The various Senates, Parliaments, Assemblies and Councils of the planets implement most of the laws, pass their own by-laws, and ignore some others. The House of Lords is a smaller body that doesn’t do very much at all. Confusingly, the House of Lords (not the same House of Lords) is the highest court of the Empire and can decide which laws are lawfully legal. The Police enforce the law. Meanwhile, guidance – entirely non-binding except when it isn’t – is provided by the logic engines, supercomputers that oversee the running of most of the larger colonies and a number of state institutions, including the Imperial Automated Bank and the Guilds except where the Guildsmen are concerned. Alien populations are left to their own devices, unless their laws are unlawful or their executive has been executing too few laws and too many people.

So overall, it’s a simple process.


Critical Reception

Reception has been generally critical. Someone on Amazon gave Space Captain Smith one star, citing it as excessively childish, believing this to be, in some way, a bad thing. Other, less sophisticated, readers have been better-disposed towards the books.

The books

Published by the fine and upstanding publisher Myrmidon Books (widely assumed to be a front organisation for the Factual Information Bureau) the books are thoroughly spiffing and, occasionally, coherent.

Space Captain Smith

Space Captain Smith is an entirely true account of the first voyage of Captain Isambard Smith and his crew, aboard the spaceship John Pym. It is set in the 25nd century AD, and introduces a number of characters and species that recur in subsequent books, and also Void Sharks.

It is followed by God Emperor of Didcot (2008) [1] [2][3][4] [5] and Wrath of the Lemming Men (2009). In December 2008 Frost, or some more insidious force, published a short story entitled When Slay Bells Ring, which was distributed for free from the Space Captain Smith website. Sicnce then several other publications have been spotted, most recently a novel length outpouring called A Game of Battleships.

God Emperor of Didcot[6][7]

God Emperor of Didcot is set on the galactic rim, where tea is harvested in bulk on Didcot 4, also known as Urn. Tea is used to provide Moral Fibre to troops and is hence of great importance. The Didcot system also includes a barren moon and a surprisingly civilised M’Lak world.

Wrath of the Lemming Men

Wrath of the Lemming Men introduces the empire of the Yull, who are a species of beings evolved from lemming-like animals. They have their own empire, the General Galactic Friendship and Happiness Collective, which is characterised by violence, sadism and cliff-jumping. The Yullian Empire is effectively a client state of the Ghast Empire.

A Game of Battleships

The future of the galaxy rests on a knife-edge. The actions of one man could save the British Space Empire, or leave Earth at the mercy of the Ghast. Smith finds himself in hot pursuit of a mysterious vessel that can pass through dimensions, incurring the wrath of the dreaded Grand Witchfinder of New Eden - which would be much easier to deal with if his pilot wasn't cowering under the dashboard and his spaceship wasn't infested with man-eating toads. The quest takes Smith on a journey to face his greatest fears: from the depths of space, through Hell itself--and even to France.

End of Empires

Heroes will rise, go slightly insane, travel up the Swannee and need to be recovered. Oh, and there's the small matter of deciding the fate of an empire…or two.[8]

Short stories and Christmas Specials

For several years Toby Frost, the reclusive and AnywhereOutsideTheThreeCountiesAreaphobic chronicler of all things Smith, has revealed exciting fragments that expand, and sometimes even illuminate, life in the British Space Empire.

The Festive Trilogy Quadrilogy

When Slay Bells Ring

Isambard Smith, Polly Carveth, Rhianna Mitchell and, of course, Suruk the Slayer look forward to the arrival of Santa on the good ship John Pym.

With Polly still upset at missing her first Christmas, Suruk troubled by visions of elves and Rhianna in the unlikely role as voice of reason, what will Smith do to bring festive cheer to his chums? And exactly what is the Deepspace Operations Group up to?

Find out by downloading When Slay Bells Ring, by Toby Frost - and then feel free to pass it on to all your chums, especially if they are yet to discover the wonderful world of Space Captain Smith. Get When Slay Bells Ring here

The Celery and the Ivy

Isambard Smith, Polly Carveth, Rhianna Mitchell and Suruk the Slayer set out to bring Christmas cheer to a remote research station.

With Suruk seeking to feast on Stephen, Carveth yearning for equine company and Rhianna wanting to get her hands on Smith's nut roast, how will the sole inhabitant of a biological research station take to his visitors? Get The Celery and the Ivy here

A Fairytale of New Dorchester

Finds Isambard Smith, Polly Carveth, Rhianna Mitchell and Suruk the Slayer answering an urgent call to a party.

But what will happen if Rhianna pulls her cracker, how will Carveth ever recover from a sight no sexbot should ever see, just how will Suruk respond to an offer from a robot butler and will Isambard ever get his Christmas cards done? Get A Fairytale of New Dorchester here

In the Hall of the Mountain Things

The good ship John Pym is on a Christmas goodwill visit to the planet Coldia, to offer it a dashed-good civilising. Join Suruk The Slayer as he ventures into the white wilderness, discovering the shocking fate of a Ghast warship, and a puzzlingly familiar civilisation with name he can't quite pin down.

As Carveth is haunted by things that sprout and Rhianna gets implausibly pedantic, Smith just wants to plant his flag in a non-metaphorical way. Will the Tree of Christmas arrive, and who will bring it? Get In the Hall of the Mountain Things here

Other material

Beorfestival (extract)

In addition to the festive tales of Space Captain Smith, archaeologists have also uncovered this mysterious artefact. You, dear researcher, are invited to draw your own conclusions.

Suruk's Message

Meanwhile, anthropologists (or, more precisely, M'Lakopologists) have unearthed (or, more precisely, unM'Laked) this, frankly bizarre communique. GCHQ is still trying to make sense of it.

Notes

  1. It has been alleged by this footnote that he is actually a collective of satirists based in the Lebanon.
  2. This one sucks.
  3. No way dude,it rocked.It had dragons in and everything.
  4. Like the Isle of Man, you mean?
  5. Whoever said this, they smell of wee and run like a girl.
  6. Oi! I said this one sucks ass!
  7. Don't you start again! And why would you want to suck your donkey?
  8. Nowhere near as good as under Russell T Davis