Science Fiction Book Review

Falling Out of Cars

Falling Out Of Cars (2002) Jeff Noon, Doubleday, 12.99, hdbk, 345pp, ISBN 0-385-60296-0

Marlene Moore is on a mission to collect pieces of a mirror that may have something to do with the breakdown of reality that everyone is experiencing. Running from grief she picks up two fellow travellers who want a piece of the action and some answers of their own. The drug that helps people hold on to their perceptions may be becoming less effective generally, but certainly helps less and less every time Marlene gets close to another piece of the mirror. Can she and her companions hold it together in this new world long enough to complete the mission, or will her own reality slide further and further into madness first?

If anyone were going to write a road movie for the 21st century, Jeff Noon would be the ideal choice. His engaging and highly charged prose drags the reader along like a super-charged V8 and the characters, though superficially unappealing, get under the readers' skin. The surrealistic, Alice Through the Looking Glass world is only slightly more frightening and uncertain than the one which we inhabit, but is reminiscent of what mental health patients in the community must experience. As the complexities, insecurities and stresses of modern life take their increasing toll, and drug use (both clinical and recreational) increases, who's to say we couldn't see a collective, societal breakdown? Jeff Noon has proved once again that he is at the forefront of literary innovation and a damned fine writer. Highly recommended.

Tony Chester

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