CJ has been kind enough to review two of my released self-published works in the past, most recent a fantastic review of Dead Heat. Having bought this about a year ago, I felt it was time to return the favour. With the promise that this would be a good weird-fi romp (as promised by reviews on GR amongst other places), I settled down to start this last weekend.
Starting with an alien abduction that is signified by an exploding television, it throws us immediately into the time travel concept. We soon learn that this is the middle of an intergalactic war and our protagonist, Desi, is not the only abductee to be dragged into it – though there is some suggestion that the war is her fault to begin with (oops!)
It’s often very easy for stories like this to get lost in their own silliness and end up convoluted and messy – it can take a lot of effort to keep it grounded and coherent but CJ accomplishes that – well done. This is a wonderful mish-mash of styles containing time travel and aliens but dashes of historical settings, alternate universes, paradoxes that will make your head hurt and lots of jokes. I understand this will not be for everybody, but it cannot be argued that there is a market for weird-fi in the tradition of China Mieville, Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde and so many others. If you like their styles (particularly Rankin, this put me more in mind of his work than any of the others) then you will most likely enjoy this.
Yet curiously, the protagonists are not too silly for their own good – which is another thing that can put people off. They are ultimately human (even the aliens) with very real flaws. There’s not much more you can ask for here, a good rollercoaster of a story story and enough serious ideas mixed in with daftness to appeal to most people.
The only real downside for me is that the text could have done with a thorough edit, a second set of eyes to aid the flow. Weird-fi readers have a certain expectation of the style – flow is vitally important as you’re taken along for the ride of weirdness and silliness. A few lapses here and there can really grate on a reader. That’s only a minor complaint though and it’s the only one I have for this wonderful weekend read. A bit of scifi, a bit of fantasy – these things should never work but time and time again, they do.
This is part 1 of a trilogy called The Paradox War.
Disclaimer (for Amazon purposes): Though I am acquainted with the writer, I have received no financial compensation / bribe for this review.