On Murder Mayhem & More, Rowena Hoseason has reviewed An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown. She starts by describing this “substantial softback” as neither a normal text novel nor comic-book style graphic novel but “a blend of both, where Karl Brown’s crisp images are presented alongside Mike French’s sometimes surreal narrative”. With the overall story including the submissions of the Android desperate to be published, she says it can be read as an anthology of short stories or a full-length tale; it is, she says “neither fish nor fowl. Yet it is in places quite brilliant.”
She describes how “Mike French’s imagination runs riot with love, sex and death; science, space and time travel; religion, relationships and the reality of being an independent writer struggling to secure a book contract.”
She says that the underlying story of a writer struggling against rejection could have become old very quickly but happily Mike “doesn’t push the point beyond (my) patience, and instead uses it as a springboard for a series of wickedly humorous and entertaining interludes.”
As well as complimenting Mike’s story, she like Karl’s beautiful artwork, especially that they don’t compete with the text or attempt a mere illustration of the events in each episode. Instead, she says, “the striking line drawings convey the essence of the action and emotion without limiting the reader’s scope to individually interpret the text”. She recommends reading the book in print rather than as an ebook so you can appreciate the images at full size, and says “Some of the double-page spreads are simply stunning”.
She concludes that An Android Awakes is graphic sci-fi for a mature audience.
On Murder Mayhem & More, there is an entertaining review of Douglas Thompson’s latest novel The Rhymer, an Heredyssey by Rowena Hoseason (who is also an Amazon Hall of Fame top 50 reviewer). The title of her review says it all – “The Rhymer: outstanding. Original. Odd”
On the one hand she suggests that readers may be bamboozled, baffled and bewildered, but on the other hand she suggests they will also be spellbound, bewitched and, like her, “enjoying the sensation of being swirled along by the author’s imagery”. She goes on to say “So while The Rhymer contains myriad moments of well-crafted word-wrangling – the like of which most writers couldn’t hope to accomplish if they digested a thesaurus before breakfast – it’s not a pompous publication. There are plenty of laughs crammed in between its stylish covers.”
Her conclusion, before giving it a score of 8 out of 10, is as intriguing and complex as the book itself, and I hope she won’t mind me quoting it below. However you should really read the whole review here. Rowena’s conclusion:
“Even now, having left The Rhymer to settle a while after finishing it, I’m not entirely sure what I think about it. Admire it? Immensely. Enjoyed reading it? Enormously. Like it?
I’ll get back to you on that.”
Which, to be fair, is probably exactly what Douglas was aiming for 😉
On the Murder Mayhem & More website, Rowena Hoseason has reviewed Entanglement by Douglas Thompson. She says that there’s a “hugely nostalgic feel to Entanglement, perhaps because of the stand-alone pulp-fiction style of the off-world adventures” which she says are reminiscent of Astounding Tales but also “HG Wells’ Time Machine – there are echoes of the Morlocks and Eloi. Douglas Thompson seizes this opportunity to carry on where Wells left off, giving us glimpses of strange social systems and convoluted communities.”
Commenting on the episodic nature of the book, with a series of encounters on different worlds, she notes that as “is the way with the very best sci-fi, every encounter says far more about humans than it does about the extra-terrestrial life forms”. Some of these observations are “uplifting and affirming, others are most definitely sobering and poignant”. She continues by pointing out that it’s not all serious, there are, she says, “several moments of wickedly adept humour – not least when the explorers meet the aliens who’ve been abducting humans from Earth for decades, and endure their inevitable invasive probing…”
As for Douglas Thompson, she says he has “a very easy-going writing style which means you can dip in and out… without struggling to get back into the groove.” She says his descriptions of other worlds “are wonderful, but he doesn’t sacrifice the pace of the plot for overblown self-indulgent stunt-writing. My attention was fixed firmly on the page throughout.” She concludes by describing Entanglement as “agreeable, thought-provoking entertainment”.
On the Murder Mayhem & More website, Rowena Hoseason has reviewed Convergence, the final part of the Dandelion Trilogy by Mike French. She says that she found it “to be eminently readable and was thoroughly entertained” and that it “kept my entire attention throughout”.
She observes that Mike “draws on the great traditions of sci-fi writing to examine the human condition in the most extreme circumstances” and goes on to say that “it was a refreshing change to be challenged by such an intricate and creative universe — and not be spoon-fed set-piece action-adventure” and “the story really grabbed me”.
She gives a brief thumbnail sketch of some of the main characters and locations, especially concentrating on the more amusing aspects of the story. She says “Sharp-toothed satire is a writer’s greatest weapon, and it’s used here to excellent effect” although she points out that the book also has serious points to make too.