Fiction Reviews


(1996) Todd Wiggins, Gollancz, 9.99, pbk, 320pp. ISBN 0 575 06316 5

Excellent debut by Wiggins in this 'literary' SF tale of the near future. On the face of it the story does not look up to much, being the written equivalent of a 'road movie', but the reader is quickly enthralled by the gorgeous prose, the engaging characters and the sparkling sense of humour.

The story is almost immaterial, but concerns a group of travellers thrown together by fate, including a cyber-terrorist, a philosopher, a martial arts instructor, a bank-robbing monk and a shocked and withdrawn girl. There are few surprises as regards the mechanism of the plot -- as I say, this is a road movie -- but the book is filled with emotional set-pieces that are dazzling, characterisations I wish more writers would aspire to, and a perverse joie de vie that reminds me of a stand-up Dada comedian who can always get an audience laughing, even if they suspect that ultimately they are laughing at themselves. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to all those who enjoy reading and haven't given up on the human race yet.

Tony Chester

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