(2000) Steve Aylett, Phoenix House, £9.99, hrdbk, 137pp
To me, Aylett is one of the best kept secrets in fiction. Atom is set in the surrealistic world of Beerlight, a sort of cross between Roger Rabbit and Bladerunner. The local brain depository is blown up, just before the president is due to hit town, and Kafka’s grey matter stolen. Taffy Atom, in PI modality, is drawn into the shady underbelly of Beerlight, along with his partner, Ms. Drowner, and his fishy friend, Jed Helms. Through underworld nightclubs and mayoral interference, Atom must find the missing brain and get it to safety... Aylett’s writing is superb and his twisted imagination and dark humour are reminiscent of Vonnegut, Dick and Noon at their best, with a dash of Bill Burroughs for spice. Recommended to fans of ‘tec noir, comics and animation.
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