Phule's Company eBook ↠ Mass Market Paperback

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 232 pages
  • Phule's Company
  • Robert Lynn Asprin
  • English
  • 02 September 2019
  • 9780441662517

10 thoughts on “Phule's Company

  1. D.M. Dutcher D.M. Dutcher says:

    WIllard Phule is the heir to a super-rich munitions company, and also an officer in the Legion. Unfortunately he gets a little too gung-ho during a peace treaty, and catches the ire of his higher-ups. They can't court-martial him, so instead they try to get him to quit by shipping him off to a remote swamp planet to command a company of losers. But Phule is far too entrepreneurial and positive-minded to let that get him down.

    This is yard sale sci-fi. By that I mean you'd really never give this a look except for 50 cents at a yard sale. It's a slim book with a goofy cover. But it's good yard sale sci-fi: it's positive, well written, with good characters and a gentle spirit to it. It's not epic space opera, but it's great comfort reading. It's not going to win Hugo awards, but when you get tired of doom and gloom, hyper-violent and hyper-sexualized modern sci-fi, you could do a lot worse than this.

  2. Justin Robinson Justin Robinson says:

    I first read this way back in junior high, so it's tough to separate what I like because of merit and what I like because of nostalgia. It was a fast read and I looked forward to it, so I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt.

    The meat of the book was a bit thornier, since I noticed things and was bothered by things that I wouldn't have back when I was much younger and when the world was a bit different. I'm a strong believer in the concept of fair for its day and not pillorying a book or artist for not living up to modern standards. Still, it's a bit tough not to wince at a few elements in this book, specifically the way the characters of color are described and the voices that are used for them.

    Also of note is the complete absence of any gay characters (let alone bi or trans people). Considering Asprin's track record with this (looking, and wincing, at you Don Bruce), that's probably for the best. Still, he has a bunch of female characters who are all distinct and interesting in their own way. So that's good.

    The structure is bizarre. It feels like Asprin was shooting for a slobs vs. snobs kind of thing that culminates with the contest between the ragtag underdogs of Phule's Legion and the hoity-toity favorites of the Red Eagles. But then he finished and realized he didn't have 200 pages yet and so tacked on this weird first contact chapter on the end. It's not bad, it's just weird. And it was yet another place where Phule could make money.

    That might have been the spot I had the most difficulty with. Phule is a billionaire and a decent person. When I was 13, I could accept this as a possibility. Now? Not so much. Phule's relentless capitalistic drive is off-putting for me now, and the book leans on his wealth to solve problems so many times it somewhat undermines the stakes. It's a weird, minor gripe, but hey, this is Goodreads. Half the reviews are nothing but weird minor gripes.

    I still like the book, but it's very much a product of its time. Nothing illustrates that more than the sequence in which Asprin essentially describes a smartphone, and then says they're prohibitively expensive so no one has them. That'll help remind you that the book was published in 1990, and temper your expectations accordingly.

  3. Jan Jan says:

    The plot is a futuristic military unit of misfits and the officer who tries to whip them into shape. The different personalities were enjoyable and some were well-developed. The pacing was good and the story moved along well.

    However, my reservations are these: 1) the plot device of the officer's butler introducing the chapters was unnecessary; the POV could have been third-party and just as good, and 2) the constant use of wealth to solve problems was a cop out. I think that the legion commander was too much of a wise-acre and I began to dislike him. He never had a problem he couldn't buy his way out of. That was unrealistic and disappointing.

    The book includes very little violence or foul language, no sex.

    I listened to the audiobook and the narration by Noah Michael Levine was very good. There are a lot of characters in this story and the group was multinational (and multi-species), and most of the voices were quite distinct.

  4. Jim Street Jim Street says:

    I liked the Myth Series enough to give this a try. I figured it would be somewhat similar, but in space. My assumptions were pretty wrong. I was also misguided by the blurbs on the book and the description/summary on the inside cover. I'm actually really disappointed by them as they were mostly misleading. While there were clever and mildly humorous parts, I failed to find much of it as hilarious as the author and company probably wished it were. I will admit that it is better written than the three Myth-adventure books I have read so far.
    The major theme of the book is money is power and with enough money, you can solve all your problems. There was very little conflict in the book - what little conflict there was was easily sidestepped by the hero-for-no-reason-and-no-reason-to-like Captain Jester. The entire book is a set of character studies of the ragtag bunch that Phule has managed to convert to his cult of personality by throwing money at them. It has the feel of a Police Academy movie, but without the actual hijinks. But even the Police Academy movies have an underlying story to pull it all together...

    I can't say that I feel compelled to pick up the next book in the series.

  5. Sejong Sejong says:

    I have to admit, this book is the only one I have started since joining Goodreads that I haven't been able to finish. I had fond memories of Asprin as a fantasy writer and would borrow his books from my uncle two decades ago, always drawn in by the amazingly illustrated covers by Robert Grace. I happened to pick up this particular sci-fi adventure at a dusty old bookstore because of it's crazy cover and the phrase don't judge a book by it's cover has never wrung so true.

    The titular character Phule is a member of some intergalactic military at the start of the book but also the son of a mega-successful businessman. In a moment of Zapp Brannigan-esque bafoonery Phule's messes up a military parade and his punishment is to captain the armie's most notoriously difficult company, made up of miscreants and aliens.

    Phule is a Tony Stark-like character who is oozing with charisma and dripping with money and uses these two attributes to work his way out of seemingly any problem. This formula became tiresome very quickly for me. Having a character as perfect as Phule, someone who is a master at everything he attempts, is not very relatable and I found myself liking him less and less as his victories piled up. None of the other characters stook out to me as particularly interesting either, just stereotypical characters I'd seen time and again. I can understand people liking the book if they are into disposable, light-hearted sci-fi novels but it simply wasn't for me.

  6. Jenny Jenny says:


    I read this for nostalgia really. I used to read Robert Asprin as a teenager with access to an older brother's fantasy and sci fi collection. Some bits were a little dated but some were surprisingly ahead of their time. Enjoyed it in 2019, which is not bad considering I enjoyed it in the 1990s.

  7. Timothy Boyd Timothy Boyd says:

    I started reading Aspin's fantasy comedy series and was surprised to find he had branched out into SiFi. I wasn't disappointed in the least. Still a laugh all the way through the book no matter what area he writes in. Highly recommended

  8. Beorn Beorn says:

    Fun from start to finish! Great idea well executed. If you want hardcore sci fi look somewhere else, but if you have a sense of humor, this is the place.

  9. Trever Trever says:

    This was fantastic. I went in expecting Stripes in Space but it was actually way more encouraging and uplifting, even, than I'd expected. Rich kid Phule gets put in charge of the usual company of washout space marines, and applies his can-do philosophy to inventing many unconventional methods of team building. It's funny, yes, and sometimes downright exciting, but more than anything it's just a really well written feel-good adventure story that will leave you with a big smile at the end. Recommended.

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Phule's Company❮BOOKS❯ ✻ Phule's Company ✴ Author Robert Lynn Asprin – Meet the soldiers of Captain Willard Phule's Companya handful of military rejects able to do more damage before AM than most people do all day Threatened by an alien enemy, Earth's military sends Phu Meet the soldiers of Captain Willard Phule's Companya handful of military rejects able to do damage beforeAM than most people do all day Threatened by an alien enemy, Earth's military sends Phule and his soldiers to a distant planet But now, the aliens have chosen a new target of warPhule's Company.

About the Author: Robert Lynn Asprin

Robert Lynn Asprin was born in While he wrote some stand alone novels such as Cold Cash War, Tambu and The Bug Wars and also the Duncan and Mallory Illustrated stories, Bob is best known for his series fantasy, such as the Myth Adventures of Aahz and Skeeve, the Phule’s Company novels and the Time Scout novels written with Linda Evans He also edited the groundbreaking Thieves’ World antho.