The Practice Effect by David Brin


Who Said Practice Makes Perfect

the book coverThe Practice Effect was my first David Brin book. And I now have many more. That is how much I liked this book.

I was feeling a bit starved for humour the other day. Now this is unusual because I can find humour in most aspects of life. And I will not list them so no one is offended. I do have a bizarre sense of humour!

I pulled out my book list, and wow is it long, and started looking for authors that have written some great, humorous tales. I wanted to see what else they had written.

Then I found a book on the list that had caused me to laugh outrageously out-loudly on its first read through. On a plane mind you!

So does practice make perfect. Read on to get a tantalising snapshot and then get the book to see if this happens.

Investigating Time and Space

No it is not a Doctor Who tale but the premise is similar. Instead of the TARDIS “Time and Relative Dimension in Space” we have a Zievatron. This machine has been developed to circumnavigate the need to travel through space in ships and to allow stepping across spacial boundaries. Who needs reality when you are having fun!

The investigation commences without the science professor who worked on the initiation of the time and space machine. He was sidelined by an ambitious competitor. But when things go wrong guess who gets assigned to fix them.

Being and adventuresome, if tunnel visioned young man off he sets through the zievatron. And of course the problem is at the exit end and the mess is extreme and not fixable with the tools he has.

Several service robots were sent through the zievatron prior to this. The ground is covered with robot pieces. What happened? Well the professor set off to find out. And that is where the fun really begins.

The New World?

Travelling from the zievatron and through the country the world is definitely a rural most likely primitive one. Civilisation slowly comes into view as the days pass and the professor acclimatises. Or does he?

Now the one thing you notice when you read this tale is the age of the story and therefore the nuances of the time. Be prepared to feel it is a bit dated by speech and actions. But do read on as the humour is very much still there.

Confusion starts rearing its ugly head as contradictions appear. So much is primitive but some things would go down exceptionally well back on earth. For instance no wheels but carts run on rails that are lubricated by the best oil the professor has ever seen. Transport however isn’t that fast though.

IF PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT:Practice makes perfect

The Practice Effect

The professor never is aware of issues around him and starts stopping progress as he gets in the way of daily activities and is finally put in his place by local officials. While in place he starts discovering the practice effect, how it works and how much it tangles up the lives of various people.

Then there is what happens when the practising slows down or disappears. No wonder the selected practisers get exhausted and have such bedraggled personal gear.

Well that’s all I am saying on this as I don’t want to let the story out of the bag.


Humorous Chaos

From this point humorous chaos exists. And it should have you rolling in the aisles. Or at least having a loud chuckle.

I recommend this tale to anyone who loves a good laugh, doesn’t mind laughing out loud in company and has a great imagination.

You can find this in eBook at Kobo and normal book form at Booktopia.




  1. I too, love reading about humour stories. And sometimes my laugh is louder than the person chatting next to me. 🙂

    This book seems very interesting to read. Stories like these normally provide a character who makes funny or sharp observations about the world, even though this is just science fiction. But still, it contributes the sense of fun and challenging ideas. Can’t wait to read it!

    Thank you for introducing this book to us.

    • Izuddin, I must be going mad (or my website is). I answered this yesterday but where is the response!

      Something I find hard these days is to find a good humorous book. And I mean proper humour – not the slap in the face so you get it stuff.

      The book is a wee bit dated due to the year it was written but I just reread it and laughed almost as much as the first read. Good think I wasn’t on a plane. I did this once reading a Tom Sharpe book called Porterhouse Blues. I had to stop as my laughter was keeping everyone awake.

  2. It’s been a while since I last read a book, so I really want to get back into reading again. I searched Google for a great list of books to read and I came across your article on The Practice Effect book. 🙂

    As a big Doctor Who fan, it seems this is a book that’s right up my street because I love all this time and space stuff. Life can get boring at times, so these types of books can certainly take us to fictional fun-filled places.

    I do like to have a good giggle at times and I’m very imaginative too. So I think I’d rather enjoy David Brin’s Practice Effect book. But it has to be the normal book version, since I’m old fashioned and prefer to hold an actual printed book instead of reading from a Kindle.

    We all have our own preferences when it comes to reading, I guess.

    Thanks very much for your review. 🙂


    • Neil, this time this comment is going to come through to you if I say so myself!

      I too like proper paper books but my home library has outgrown our available book space. I try and cull them but to no avail. I do however love my Kobo eReader as now I don’t have to get out of warm bed on a cold winter night to turn off the lights! I also find it much easier to lug around when I am out and can expect waiting periods between doing stuff I need to do.

      And I love stopping for a good cuppa coffee. We have very great coffee houses here in Hobart. In fact Starbucks only lasted a couple of years down here as they just couldn’t cut it. And I can pop into my eReader in between watching people. One of my favourite pastimes.

      I also find the eReader is light and doesn’t bother my wrist that I broke a few years ago.

      If you like humour with your reading I am sure you will like The Practice Effect. As I said it is a bit dated but that shouldn’t bother you. So have a great read and it has been great ‘talking’ to you.


  3. This book by David Brin on the Practice Effects sounds really awesome, thanks for sharing your introduction to it. I truly enjoy a great laugh even out loud in public and I would like to see how it tangles up the lives of various people as you mention. I will check out it – thanks again

    • Michael, to get off the sci fi and fantasy theme completely, have you ever heard of Tom Sharpe. Most of his books are hysterically funny. Those will have you laughing continuously. And don’t expect them to be politically correct!

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