Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

I’ve read a lot of these dimension-hopping novels, so I sort of surprised myself when I picked up Elsewhere. The plot is familiar, and so are the characters; in many ways it’s a good book to pick up when you don’t want to work your brain too hard.

Jeffy lives a life of quiet contentment with his precocious eleven-year -old daughter, Amity. Their near-idyllic life is torn apart when a vagrant Jeffy’s befriended turns out to be a renowned quantum physicist, who gives Jeffy the Key To Everything: a device that transports “passengers” to alternate realities.

Okay, first off, it’s a good book: engaging, well-written, with a light lyrical style which may have put it in the YA category if not for the over-the-top brutality of the main antagonist.

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Call to Arms by Alan Dean Foster

I really liked Relic by the same author, so I thought it was worth giving another one of his books a punt. A random stab on Amazon brings up a Call To Arms, a story (number one in a trilogy, I think) about a galactic war between two cultures.

One alliance (the Amplitur) seeks to unite every being in the universe in the undertaking of one great Purpose.

The other alliance (the Weave) would rather not.

And so, the battle rages on for centuries, with both sides recruiting civilisations, but neither side really gaining advantage. The problem is deceptively simple: each side believes heart and soul in their cause, but each side has evolved beyond the savagery, the desire for violence, the selfishness, the innate sense of superiority they need to win the war.

Then on a routine scouting mission, the Weave encounter a creature from a race who may have the destructive qualities that can turn the tide of the war.

The creature’s name is Will, a frustrated music composer from New Orleans.

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The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

A dystopian pandemic novel with a bit of a twist.

The Book of M is primarily the story of Max and Ory: a couple living in an abandoned hotel following the strangest outbreak you’re ever likely to read about: a few years earlier, people across the world began losing their shadows.

Yup, you heard right.

Folk were going about their business, then looking down and discovering that their shadows had disappeared. The world’s fascination with this phenomenon soon turned to horror when people realised that shadows were somehow tied to memory: once your shadow vanished, your memories began to fade, along with your ability to make new ones.

Oh, but it gets worse: the people without shadows became wandering zombies with terrifying reality-bending powers.

To escape from the global chaos, Ory and Max hide away in the mountains, surviving on trapped animals and the dwindling supplies in the hotel stores. But inevitably, the pandemic reaches them: Max’s shadow vanishes, and before she develops the magical powers that could harm her husband, she leaves their mountain home while Ory is out hunting.

And when a heartbroken Ory returns to find her gone, he gathers a few supplies and sets out to find her …

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