Sunday, 29 September 2013

Book Review: The Deep Whatsis

The Deep Whatsis
By Peter Mattei
Published by The Friday Project
pbook and ebook available 

What do you get if you combine Partick Bateman from American Psycho with the film Up In The Air?

You get Eric from Pater Mattei's debut novel, The Deep Whatsis.

The Deep Whatsis is a marmite book - It's a book that people will love for its irony or people will hate. I don't like Marmite but I enjoyed this book.

Eric is a self-centered, anti-hero who thinks his cool because he works in Manhattan and works for a creative agency. He has been employed by a creative agency to head the creative department but his main job is to sack most of the staff. Most of his days are spent thinking of excuses to sack people, drinking expensive alcohol, taking drugs and trying to dodge New York hipsters.

His perfect life starts to crumble when an intern starts...

It's refreshing to have a main character who is not likable. He is an engrossing character who will dig his claws into you and won't let you go until the last page. By the end you might even start feeling sorry for him. Maybe.

On the surface, The Deep Whatsis could be seen as another book about a guy stuck in a corporate world who has to deal with the consequences of board decisions. Eric has to be the grim reaper while the Directors get to see their share price and profiles increase. But The Deep Whatsis explores the desperation people feel when they want to be acknowledged by their peers, spiraling mental health and the absurdity of modern human behaviour. And there is humour. Lots of humour. WARNING - You might find yourself having a chuckle out loud.

Pucker up because you're in a for a journey with the most unlikable character to be published this year. He might just become likable by the end!

You can buy a copy of The Deep Whatsis from your favourite online or offline bookseller. 

The Friday Project kindly sent me a copy. Thanks, guys! 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Against The Clock

I have been writing against the clock.
Deadlines for competitions have got me back to my laptop and violently hitting the keys, trying to get those stories written and edited.
Leaving it to the last minute isn't ideal but its because I can't make up my mind - enter or not enter - on repeat in my head from the day I have read about the competition until the final few days before the deadline.
It's a race.
Typing, typing.
Editing, editing.
Redrafting, redrafting.
Freaking out because the deadline is literally knocking on the door.
More re-jigging of sentences.
I am either waiting to a few days before deadline for posting entries and praying for Royal Mail to deliver on time or waiting until the last second to press the 'submit' button.

Anyway, back to reviewing, emailing and writing more of my novel.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Book Review: Finches of Mars

Finches of Mars
By Brian Aldiss
Published by The Friday Project
Hardback/ebook (paperback forthcoming)

I wasn't aware of Brian Aldiss until The Friday Project started to publish his extensive back list of novels and stories. I thought I might as well start at the end! The Finches of Mars is apparently going to be Aldiss's last science fiction novel. I hope to be still writing at 88!

The Finches of Mars is a thoughtful science fiction novel and it starts off with a great premise. A few select humans are able to escape the confides of Earth as it slowly destroys itself with war, by being sent to Mars to build a colony. Their mission is to set up an utopia on the barren, dusty planet, consisting of six towers, each representing the major powers. The colonists must promise to abandon religion, take new names and no pets are allowed! The ensemble of characters in this novel must create themselves new identities and lives. Through out the novel, each character must contemplate their self-imposed exile and what it means to be human. At the beginning of the novel this trip to Mars is seen as a great opportunity but as the novel develops the characters start to see this as isolation and exile.

Aldiss tackles many ideas and themes through out the novel - evolution, philosophy, religion, time, psychological effects on humans, the world of business and academia and science. Some of the ideas could have been separate novels and some of the ideas are not resolved but left for the reader to draw their own conclusions. Sometimes the philosophical ideas start to meander and take over the novel, pushing the plot into the background.

There is a lot of cynicism through out the novel - humans are doomed on earth. They are also doomed on Mars too. Fertility is a major problem for the settlers. Babies are either stillborn or die shortly after birth. The colonists release that they can not fix this problem - they must wait for evolution to create a 'fix'. Aldiss explores the evolutionary debate through out the novel and how humans are at the hands of evolution. But don't worry, there is hope at the end of the novel. The plot starts to drift away at the end but overall this is a solid book with giant ideas.

I am looking to exploring the rest of Brian Aldiss's backlist.

You can buy Finches of Mars from your preferred online or offline bookshop. 

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy from The Friday Project. Thank you!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

I'm Back And I Need Book Recommendations

I'm back from holiday, sadly. I had to be dragged away from these lovely scenes. Things have been stressful over the past months but being near the sea and walking along clifftops seem to have magical powers. Instant relaxation!

I even feel motivated to start working on my novel, again. I have been struggling with one of the chapters since June but once we were back from holiday I was able to finish it. The next chapter is now being a pain! I am trying to find ways to write more. If you have the answer, let me know!

While I was away I did spent most of my Waterstones voucher (this was the prize for this competition). The books standing up are books for my family and the rest are for me! This reading pile is going to keep me busy for a while. But don't worry I did read some review books on holiday and those reviews will be appearing over the next few weeks.

I have some money left over. Do you have any book recommendations? 

Sunday, 1 September 2013