Journey into Space (Hamish Hamiltoni 00..
There’s a good track record of literary writers dabbling in science fiction, from Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood to Iain Banks, and we can add to that fine company this remarkable and moving offering from Toby Litt. Having long been an experimental writer, Litt delivers something new and interesting with each book, and this tenth outing sees him taking a sci-ﬂ staple and twisting it into startling new shapes. The action is set in the claustrophobic environs of a ship hurtling through space. away from a troubled Earth to settle on a distant planet. The journey will take hundreds of years, generations living and dying on board. It’s a fate most are resigned to, but not all, as the rebellious August and Celeste set in motion a chain of events that will determine the destinies of all on board. When catastrophic news is received from Earth, a decision has to be made. one which will seal the
fate of humankind.
Dealing with big questions about morality, social responsibility, love and even the very nature and purpose of existence, Journey into Space is epic, stretching for generations, but with very human dilemmas at its pulsating heart. What does it mean to live and love? What kind of society could we have if we started again from scratch? Why even bother to go on? There’s a lot of existential soul-searching here, but much satirical fun too, and it’s ultimately an incredibly effective and affecting piece of work. (Doug Johnstone)
ilciiNo lHRlLLER WALTER JON WILLIAMS
This Is Not a Game (Orbit) 00
THIS IS NOT
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If a novel set in a world of 'greed. betrayal and social networking doesn‘t sOund espeCially eXCiting. that's because it‘s not. Walter Jon Williams might be highly acclaimed as a SCi-fi writer. but This Is Not a Game engages a muddle of faceless characters in a narrative that's been topped by Java manuals for readability. Dagmar is a writer for a multi-billion dollar Alternate Reality Gaming company. After escaping a riot—torn Jakarta in the book's largely superfluOus first third. she ends up in LA trying to solve her friend's murder while negotiating the blurred boundaries between online networks and Ofﬂine reality.
The concept of the group mind as a problemsolvuig tool is certainly an interesting one. yet it's smothered in impenetrable IT Jargon. The lingo would be forgivable were this a straight-up science fiction book, but it also tries to be a marginally more accessible near- future techno-thriller. and succeeds as neither. (Malcolm Jack)
WARTIME DRAMA JOAN BAKEWELL All the Nice Girls (Virago) 00.
Much like the time period it's set Within. the passion and intrigue in Joan Bakewell's first novel hides behind a stodgy facade of 1940s wartime repression and tightly buttoned morals. Set in a prim girls' school. the Jolly hockey
sticks atmosphere does grate at points. until the headmistress. a straight-backed but serenely elegant sort. falls in love With a married Merchant Navy captain. Frosty tut- tutting from her religious mother and gossiping students present a dilemma as she must weigh up her chance at happiness against dOing 'the right thing'. 'Thinking man's crumpet' and well— respected broadcaster Bakewell has waited until her seventies before attempting fiction. Her Journalism background is obwous in passages heavy in naval detail or contentious politics of the day. but lighter passages — where romance blossoms at tea dances. Or aphrOdISIac mugs Of Bovril lead to clumsy shore-leave fumbles — show a warmth to her writing. cautiously trying to break free from its serious shackles. iClaire Sawersi
DYSTOPlAN NOVEL STONA FITCH
Printer‘s Devil iTwo Ravens) 00m
Cormac McCarthy set a new benchmark in dystopian fiction with his
STONA FITCH n
remarkable The Road. but this powerful and profound novel makes a good stab at matching it. In a future world blighted by post- apocalyptic enVironmental threats. humankind has retreated to tribalism to surVive. lan belongs to one of two warring printers' gqus in a desolate City. and dreams of escape With his damaged girlfriend Melina. When an ill- planned heist backfires. his hand is forced and he has to run for his life. Fitch's future world is wonderfully and completely imagined. from the landscape to the mindset to the language. in a narrative which address big issues like consumerism and abuse of power, but does so With incredible subtlety and always With
a very human dilemma at its core. Compulsively readable but also incredibly thOught- provoking, thrilling but also highly perceptive. this is everything a modern novel should be. (Doug Johnstone)
JOHN WAGNER, ALAN GRANT 8. VARIOUS
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 12
Yet another huge Judge Dredd compendium from the pages of
2000AD. As per usual
John Wagner and Alan Grant take up the writing reins of the ultimate lawman as he brings tOugh Justice to the streets of sci-ti metropolis Mega City One. Equal parts black comedy. action and SCience fiction satire. some stories are hit and miss (the Wizard of Oz
5 PAPERBACK DEBUTANTS Edward Hogan Blackmoor A dark tale of a closevknit mining community forced to abandon their homes while. ten years later.
a child discovers exactly how his mother died there. Pocket.
Llobonbarg The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam It's Rhodesia in the 19708 and two children are protected by the boundary of their land until the war-torn outside world crashes in. Virago. Elizabeth Gilbert Stern Men A re-Iaunch of her debut novel after the success of Eat, Pray, Love with this one about a tale of lobster ﬁshing rights in Maine. Bloomsbury. cs Richardson 7779 End of the Alphabet A man with a month to live sets out to visit all the places he's longed to go. from Amsterdam to Zanzibar. It's quite possible that there are 26 of them. Portobe/lo.
Kaul Hart Hemmlnga The Descendants Set in Hawaii, family and friends gather round a woman in a coma while the race is on to locate her lover who is unaware of the unfolding tragedy. Vintage.
pastiche is particularly painful) but when you take into acc0unt QOOOAD's weekly schedule their conSistency is astOunding
Featuring artists such as Jamie Hewlett, Glenn Fabry. Brendan McCarthy and Brett EWins. this volume also sees the advent of full colour in the world of Judge Dredd. for apprOXimately two thirds of this anthology. Unfortunately, some of the colouring is a little rough (and in some places the art is downright ugly) but as you'd expect, it's always entertaining and often thrilling. (Henry Northmore)
5—19 Mar 2009 THE LIST 31