East and Bays Courier : June 27th 2012
Fans galore: Marisa Sorce of Parnell, left, and Leena Riekkola of Eden Terrace with Rhys Darby at his book signing last month. Photos: JASON OXENHAM And smile: Rhys Darby poses for a photo with a fan. Personal message: Rhys Darby writes a special note in a copy of This Way To Spaceship. Unmistakable: Rhys Darby's unique sense of humour and recognisable voice shine through in This Way To Spaceship. Darby's creative book debut BOOK CLUB This Way To Spaceship By Rhys Darby Reviewed by Rhiannon Horrell He has made a name for himself with that unmistakable voice and style of humour and now Rhys Darby is hitting fans with an auto- biographical end-of-the-world com- panion''. This Way To Spaceship is com- plete with sheep jokes (which he gets out of the way in the first chap- ter), an explanation of tall poppy syndrome (which he says is orchestrated by the media), a com- ment on the New Zealand accent and fush and chups'' and says that Kiwis have a dark and violent sense of humour (which is why, he says, Kiwi stands for Keep it way inside'). Darby's writing efforts are clearly for an American audience -- and per- haps this is because that's where he's made it big -- but I felt the Kiwi audience didn't matter as much to him. In chapter 14 he says: I'm guess- ing most of you reading this book aren't from New Zealand (unless I've been lied to about my publishing deal and it's only avail- able in Hamilton).'' The book jumps from one memory to the next and from one time period to the next but Darby makes it an interesting read. His style of writing is light and easy to get through. Darby has that one-off voice that is instantly recognisable and when I started reading the book, I could hear his voice speaking every word. I think he's done a good job for a first book but he's winged his way through it. Near the end it diverges into a long-winded explanation of how to be invited on board a spaceship that is scheduled to leave a day before the world ends. I have to admit that I tired of the creative and convoluted stories about how to board a spaceship, how to take on aliens and even how to lasso a man wearing a jetpack. It's hard to remain funny for 214 pages and some of these bits might be more suited to a nerdy-male audience who are on the same page as Darby. Granted there were parts of the book that I found myself smil- ing and laughing at. I enjoyed finding out about his life, his background and the anecdotes he had to share. Darby employed a number of techniques to keep the interest going -- in the form of sketches, old photos, poems, maps, invitations, conversations, lists and even a letter from his wife Rosie. He seems like a child trapped in a man's body with a big imagin- ation. I think it is a rare thing for an adult to retain this sense of creativity to the extent that he does. He is also quick to pick up on his previous successes and twist them into a comedic situation. For example, in a section on the art of feigning interest he gives advice on how to do this at a wed- ding. He gives an example where he is talking with a guest. It reads: Someone said you were in Flight of the Condors or some- thing?'' No, I fly condors. That's what you would've heard.'' You fly condors?'' Yes. I train them.'' What are you training them for?'' Condors are the only birds strong enough to pick up televisions with their talons.'' Darby scores 10 out of 10 for creativity but a few points less for continuity and flow.
June 22nd 2012
June 29th 2012