Among my ten top ten favourite novels of all time lies an unlikely contender – High Society by Ben Elton. Though his books have raked in the millions worldwide, I don’t see the kind of hoopla about him that I’d like. Keeping this in mind, I have taken on a noble mission – to educate the hitherto uninformed masses about this literary genius.
Who is he?
You can, of course, glean the full details from Wikipedia, but the most recognizable elements of his career so far are:
- His teaming up with Richard Curtis to write the Blackadder series
- They also wrote Mr. Bean’s famous exam episode
- He wrote and produced The Thin Blue Line, a series starring Rowan Atkinson and set in a police station.
- His stand-up comedy show called The Ben Elton Show
The remarkable thing about his novels is that most of them tackle environmental and social issues without boring the reader. I couldn’t imagine reading non-fiction tomes based on the same subjects, so I’m quite grateful to his books for educating me about these issues and provoking me to think about the problems and their solutions. All the books feature a sprinkling of British humour, as you would expect.
A conglomerate of the world’s wealthiest men come together to solve the problem of our declining environment, and if you think their plan involves going down the green path, you’ve got another think coming!
The wonderfully named Plastic Tolstoy is a business magnate who invents a Claustrosphere, a dome-shaped habitat in which all water, food and air is endlessly recycled in a completely closed environment. The Eco-Terrorism movement led by Jurgen Thor stirs awareness in the public of the looming eco-disasters. But how can Plastic Tolstoy transform his device into a huge commercial success? Read the book to find out.
The best way to start a book – with an off-planet introduction. A group of aliens on another planet have discovered Earth. There’s one aspect of this planet that puzzles them – what are those rectangular sheets of metal that Earthlings enclose themselves in for long stretches of the day?
The protagonist is a paraplegic scientist who invents a wonderful solution to the problem of vehicular traffic by designing a car that runs on hydrogen. Naturally, he becomes the target of various parties interested in getting their hands on this technology, and we’re in for a wild ride.
This is the first book I read by this author. Peter Paget, a Labour Party MP, grabs his chance at history and introduces a bill in parliament to legalise all recreational drugs in the UK. The other parties with vested interests are not going to make this easy for him, and the secrets he harbours don’t help him either.
Welcome Detective Inspector Ed Newson as he stumbles upon crimes which may or may not be related to a site for hooking up with old pals, called Friends Reunited. Won’t reveal more, read the book to find out.
Bruce Delamitiri makes movies filled with violence and states that it doesn’t affect people at all (Quentin Tarantino, anyone?). The Mall Murderers Wayne and Scout think otherwise. They go around killing people the same way as they have seen in Bruce Delamitri’s films. They invade his house to force him into saying things he doesn’t want to say. This book has one of the best epilogues ever!
The entire plot of the story is captured in the title, but it’s amazing because it is written in the form of alternating diary entries by both the husband and the wife as they go through the phase of trying to have a baby. I couldn’t believe how closely the wife’s thoughts mirrored my own and I could totally picture my husband talking the way the man wrote.
And last but not the least…
You have read books in which you don’t know the murderer till the final pages, but have you read a book where you remain in the dark about the identity of the victim until more than three-fourths of the book is over?
Set in the cut-throat world of reality television, Dead Famous is Elton’s updated version of a locked room mystery – ten housemates and one is killed. Cameras are running 24×7 in the house. How did it happen, who did it, and why?
Warning: don’t start reading this book at bedtime or any time when you don’t have 3-4 hours of reading time stretched out ahead for you.
Have you read any of his books? If not, please go do so right now!
Not read Ben Elton, but from what you say, the loss is entirely mine. Will try and pick up some of his books.
Thanks for the recommendation.
Great, you’re in for an enjoyable ride! Do start with one of those I’ve mentioned, as his earlier books are more interesting than his later ones.
Oh, how I love Blackadder. 🙂 That reminds me — I must pull the DVDs out of my shelf and watch them again sometime.
Yep, writing this post had me reaching for the Blackadder DVDs too! But do try the books if you get time.
OK I’m going to look up Ben Elton right now on Amazon! I love hearing about awesome authors. Thank you!
Voila! That is precisely the reaction I am looking for! Do update me once you finish one and tell me how you liked it.
Gargi, I am guilty of not reading Ben Elton. Will try to add few of your recommendations to my TBR pile. I will surely update you about the ones I have read and what I liked about each.
Thank you for guiding me towards a great author. 🙂
Thats great, Rachna! I’m sure you’ll like them.
Many people don’t like Ben Elton. I read his books, that’s all.
I found Stark one of my new favourites, and I’ll be reading his other books very soon.
Yes I’m not sure why he is so under-appreciated. Do read some of the others, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.