Doodling

Rated 4.25/5 based on 40 reviews
After Neville Lansdowne falls off the world (because it's moving too fast), he finds himself adrift in an asteroid field full of eccentric characters and experiences some most unexpected adventures. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver’s Travels) in this engaging comic fantasy. More

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About Jonathan Gould

Jonathan Gould is a Melbourne-based writer and doodler.

He calls his stories "dag-lit" because they're the sort of stories that don't easily fit into the standard genres. Some might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.

Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons, Dr Seuss and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).

Also in Series: Adventures of Neville Lansdowne

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Reviews

Review by: Alysa H on Oct. 26, 2013 :
A clever little sci-fi-esque novellette that works as an easy parable about the modern human condition. I chuckled a lot, and I never knew what was going to happen next, but I also didn't care that much past the first half or so. One never quite gets to know any of the characters; they're all entirely symbolic apart from, perhaps, the protagonist Neville. It makes the whole thing feel a bit like an extended Monty Python sketch, which is a good thing. But unlike a Python sketch, the setting is quite hard to envision because its so very abstract.

I would agree with the official description that this is "Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver's Travels)" though with far less nuance, due for the most part to its comparatively short length. But that's not a criticism: _Doodling_ would never have worked as a long novel, and as a short it is really quite good.
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
Review by: Lynne Cantwell on March 28, 2013 :
This is another of the books that I won as a prize at the end of 2011, but didn't get around to reading 'til last year.

Neville Lansdowne is our hapless Everyman. The modern world simply moves too fast for him, so he lets go and falls off. Really. He literally lets go, and falls off into space. Pretty soon, he finds himself adrift in an asteroid field. When he spots an asteroid with a flag planted on it, he lands on it -- and that's when his adventure really begins.

This is a very much a novella -- just 68 pages on my Nook -- so it's a quick read, but but it's fun. It's absurd in the same way that Alice in Wonderland is absurd, and it's a send-up of modern life in the same way as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I quite enjoyed Doodling -- it's a cute little book.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
Review by: Lynne Cantwell on March 28, 2013 :
This is another of the books that I won as a prize at the end of 2011, but didn't get around to reading 'til last year.

Neville Lansdowne is our hapless Everyman. The modern world simply moves too fast for him, so he lets go and falls off. Really. He literally lets go, and falls off into space. Pretty soon, he finds himself adrift in an asteroid field. When he spots an asteroid with a flag planted on it, he lands on it -- and that's when his adventure really begins.

This is a very much a novella -- just 68 pages on my Nook -- so it's a quick read, but but it's fun. It's absurd in the same way that Alice in Wonderland is absurd, and it's a send-up of modern life in the same way as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I quite enjoyed Doodling -- it's a cute little book.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
Review by: Lynn Hallbrooks on Oct. 15, 2012 :
I was first introduced to Doodling on Independent Authors and Writers were I was impressed with the book page enough to give it Book of the Day: http://www.independentauthors.org/201... At some point later, Jonathan blessed me with a discount to the Smashwords version. It was on the terms that I was not seeking this from my review of his page but that I was happy for the opportunity to read and review his book with an open mind and an honest review.

Neville falls off the world and visits several asteroids. Why does he do this...well you'll have to read the book to find out.

I think this is a cross between Fantasy and Satire. Fantasy because we all know that people can't really survive in outer space without forms of protection. A Satire because there are subliminal references to society yet they are not caustic in nature.

My imagination was captivated by Mr. Gould's descriptions of the people and places. I couldn't help but wonder how this was all going to turn out. I was quite pleased when all the pieces of the proverbial puzzle fell into place in the end. In some ways it put me in mind of "Gulliver's Travels".
(reviewed 12 months after purchase)
Review by: killie81 on Oct. 13, 2012 :
"Doodling" is a fun little novella by Jonathan Gould that has been influenced by the works of Douglas Adams and Lewis Carroll. It is a madcap, surreal adventure full of nonsense and rather insane characters that had me smiling multiple times. However, Gould also manages to make some deep reflections on our society in amongst this comedy which helped give the novella a sense of purpose.

The story itself follows Neville Lansdowne who one day discovers that he can’t keep up with the fast pace of the world and is flung into space. Luckily he lands in an asteroid belt where he begins to create his own world completely designed based on his ideas and dreams. Of course, he soon discovers that a life alone like this just wasn't for him and journeys to other asteroids where he meets many other travellers, with many of them being completely and utterly barking mad.

As mentioned earlier, there are a fair few wacky moments that should provide giggles and smiles aplenty alongside a sense of purpose that helps to drive the narrative along. Gould does a good job in making sure the story doesn't get lost in surreal mayhem and balances the need for contemplation and humour well.

An issue I did have with the novella though was the characters as whilst they were initially quite amusing and varied they could be a little bit cartoon like. Within two of three pages of a character being introduced I found that they got a little bit boring as there was no real depth to their strange behaviours and choices. As for Neville himself, whilst he does have a little bit of development as the story progresses I found that I didn't really know much about him so found it hard to empathise or relate to him fully.

Overall, this is an amusing novella full of imagination and fun that should keep most people entertained on some level. I actually think that it is the type of story that could be read to children who may really enjoy the short length, basic silly characters and the downright crazy almost illogical adventure.
(reviewed 13 months after purchase)
Review by: Enora Dunham on May 7, 2012 :
Honestly, I found Doodling to be a little pointless. Ever heard someone say that Huckleberry Finn is a book with no plot? This is kind of like that. I don't mean to be harsh. The writing was pretty good, I just think Jonathan Gould can do better than this.

I was constantly wondering how old the main character was. At first I thought it was probably somewhere around the age of ten, but as the book progressed I became confused. At one point, he went to drink champange (it wasn't really champange, just dirt really) which made me again wonder how old he really was. A ten year old wouldn't drink champange.

In Doodling, all of the characters were in space. I'm still wondering how exactly the whole running or bycle think worked in space when they're jumping from astroid to astroid or chasing one. I found the main character's potential untapped and thus found him uninteresting.

Jonathan Gould could do much better if he would just use a better idea.
(reviewed 12 months after purchase)
Review by: John Martin on Dec. 15, 2011 :
This novella is surely the lovechild of Alice in Wonderland and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
It's a fun read (a modern fairytale with young and young-at-heart readers in mind, I read in another review -- and I'd have to agree with both those observations.
It's succinct and slickly written.
I'd recommend it to readers who enjoy this genre.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
Review by: John Martin on Dec. 15, 2011 : (no rating)
This novella is surely the lovechild of Alice in Wonderland and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
It's a fun read (a modern fairytale with young and young-at-heart readers in mind, I read in another review -- and I'd have to agree with both those observations.
It's succinct and slickly written.
I'd recommend it to readers who enjoy this genre.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
Review by: Amanda chefamanda@gmail.com on Nov. 18, 2011 :
Two phrases come to mind when I read this book: "Stop the world. I want to get off," and "It's us against the world." You will never think of those words quite the same way after reading Doodling.

On the surface, Doodling is a humorous, ridiculous story about missing toasters and wayward asteroids, and is completely enjoyable on that level.

Doodling is also a cautionary tale, warning against the danger of moving too fast, doing too much. Gould reminds us that life is always better when it's taken at a reasonable pace.

I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed 55 days after purchase)
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