|Publisher||Victor Gollancz Ltd|
The Soddit or Let's Cash in Again is a 2003 parody of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, written by A.R.R.R. Roberts. The book jacket states: "Following on (inevitably, some might say) from the frankly unlikely success of Bored of the Rings comes a new book from an entirely different author that parodys [sic] Tolkien's other (and undoubtedly shorter) masterpiece."
The book consists of primarily slapstick-style jokes, with characters of slightly different names from the original ones (for example, Bingo as opposed to Bilbo) and a slightly altered main storyline. As the book progresses, the story departs further and further from the original storyline that it parodies. It is also illustrated in 'Glorius Mono-colour' (again stated on the book jacket) by Douglas Carrel.
The story starts with a peaceful Soddit called Bingo who is visited by a wizard, Gandef, and a party of dwarfs who ask Bingo to come with them on a quest to 'The Only Mountain' where 'Smug the Dragon' lives. After a few drinks, Bingo accepts, not knowing what they were actually searching for. "Gold, boyo gold, la, look you."
On the way, they have many adventures and close shaves. Roberts says he wanted the company fighting through the Picadilly flea circus and fighting the Daleks from Doctor Who, but he says it was cut for time. They have a nasty run in with some trollps, who plan to eat them, but they annoy the wizard Gandef, who turns them to sandstone as opposed to real stone. In the mountains, they encounter Gobblins, which are evil turkeys, who take them to their town, but the dwarves all fight out and Bingo gets lost. He falls into a cavern where he meets a morose philosopher named Sollum. He challenges him to a game of riddles, seeing his presence in "much the same delight he would greet the arrival of a chicken delight truck." Bingo wins the riddles, and asks what he wins, but then remembers he found a Thing® that was created by evil and is Sollum's. So the philosopher tries to eat him but he escapes due to the Thing®'s super-speed.
Gandef plans to take them to a Mill, which is "famous" but it has been burned when they get there. Then they go to see a fearsome maniac, Biorn the bear-man, who is reputed to change from man to bear at night, but later during the visit they find he is just a totally crazy, naked man. They shut him outside his house to calm him down and then they move on leaving him to mumble. The next bit is the "enchanted" forest of Myurkywood, which has been under an illusion spell for some time. As in the original, the streams are magic, and turn to rapids quick. They meet highly bitter, political spiders in the forest who want to lay eggs in their beards, but Bingo realizes the Thing® can get them out of their peril, which it does. It works by reversed spells. Then, they find a brewery, where the men are morbidly obese and drunk and want to drown them because they can't sing. So, Bingo gets them out.
They get to Lakeside, where they go off to the Mountain, where Bingo asks if the dwarves are going to finally tell him why he's there. Upon hearing that he has to go down a chimney, Bingo falls down it and meets the dragon Smug, who is actually very friendly and even offers him tea. Smug says he hasn't made any enemies and doesn't know of anyone who would kill him. He is worried he has driven away the Lakesiders' business so he says he'll fly over to talk. But the dwarves are angry and tell Bingo that Gandef was a dwarf, he is changed into a wizard, and he'll now change into a dragon because its nature and that's where dragons come from. Smug is shot at Lakeside, and gobblins attack, but the dwarves and men fight them. At the end, the gobblins swarm round them demanding the Thing®, but Bingo tricks them and Gandef's dragon breath kills all gobblins. Gandef is revealed as a dragon and he flies Bingo home.
In 'The Soddit' there is a small message claiming that it is not "The first few minutes of a prologue of "A MAJOR NINE-HOUR EPIC!!!". Also, at the end, it has various fake books being advertised, including 'The Spuddit' which is a parody of 'The Soddit' where the parts are taken by potatoes. However, this is a joke and there is no such book (as yet).
Steven H. Silver delivered a favourable review of the book in 2004. He observed that Roberts used Tolkien's own "excesses which readily give themselves to parody". According to Silver, The Soddit had not simply become a joke but is a full novel with deep characters and new parts in the plot.
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