On his blog Shelf Abuse, Carl Doherty has just reviewed Fictional Alignment, which he introduces as Mike French’s “sequel to the brilliantly bonkers An Android Awakes”. Describing the book as “grand and eclectic” he adds that “it’s never boring or short on style or ambition”. He says he absolutely loved Fictional Alignment, perhaps even more than An Android Awakes (which he reviewed in 2015 as “I bloody loved it”), adding that it’s “quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. Mike French is a distinct voice in a genre that too often not only settles for the derivative but is expected to do so by its readers.” Mike’s writing, Carl says, “has more in common with British comics than prose”, it is “punky and anarchic” and “closer in tone to the cheeky satire of classic 2000AD than anything else I can think of”.
Carl concludes by saying that Mike’s “idiosyncratic irreverence and boundless creativity make Fictional Alignment a demanding but unforgettable read”. You can read the whole of Carl’s review on Shelf Abuse here.
Outlining the overall storyline and structure of the book, Carl likens Mike French’s approach to Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. He says some of the stories are “sad, some are epic, some are small and silly. Some are set in a cyberpunk-inflected dystopian future far removed from our own while others could take place tomorrow…” The way that the Android, in each rejected submission reiterates and reinvents concepts, characters and names is “what has to be one of the most unique world-building exercises I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading”. The stories are far from conventional, he says, “with the strangest stories so out there that Vonnegut’s ubiquitous sci-fi author Kilgore Trout would have rejected them for being too weird”. He commends Karl Brown’s artwork that evokes “an early 2000AD and exemplify the book’s eclectic and erratic nature” and only “further add to An Android Awakes eccentricity”. He adds that the small snippets of the Android’s world “were enough to keep me transfixed”.
He concludes by saying that some readers may be baffled, but those who “enjoy it won’t just enjoy it but love it and hold it dear.” He says “I bloody loved it” and recommends that any genre fan who is frustrated at ‘safe’ and conventional books should make time for Mike French’s work, adding “I guarantee you won’t have read anything else quite like it”.