A slightly difficult book to review, mainly because it is a particularly difficult one to describe. Not that Stephen isn’t a good author – he is intelligent, laugh out loud funny and incredibly eloquent – but if I’m being perfectly frank, I think he left me behind quite notably; truthfully, I was a little lost for most of the book.
The story, as far as I could tell, revolved around an investigation into a catastrophic incident involving a fleet battleship far in the future, and the increasingly stressed-out investigator’s challenges trying to establish the truth against a massive establishment cover-up. Beyond this, it was all pure comedy to me, and science fiction intellectualism. There is a very large dialogue ratio in this book, which plays a big role in directing the narrative, and I always find that this does make it a little trickier to engage with the flow of a storyline. I hope Stephen won’t take offence when I say that he is the hardest working type of sci-fi nerd (and I do mean that affectionately). He has clearly put very large numbers of man-hours into selecting just the right word, phrase and vernacular for every single line, without tiring at any point, and that is worthy of real respect – a labour of love, it is clear. His language and elocution are sublime, his terminology at the level of the most unambiguous boffin. Additionally, the humour throughout was at times uproarious, and frequently had me in fits of laughter. I just wish at times it was a touch more reader-friendly overall; it did feel a bit cryptic at times, as if the author was catering to his own personal taste – which is of course his prerogative. He is clearly a hugely devoted fan of his genre, whilst also being a wonderful social satirist, and I am sure there is more than a touch of analogy in this book, as applied to society’s current situation – specifically what it might be, I couldn’t say; my suggestion is rather more just a sense.
I’d like to see something else by Stephen M.A., who is a skilled writer, but perhaps I might get on with something in a more simple narrative format from him, and perhaps a touch less dialogue steering it. That said, I am certain there will be many who like the style he has chosen, and who read books in this vein as fodder. Don’t get me wrong, despite my own difficulties with it, it is fun and interesting; it perhaps just didn’t engage me from early on, making it difficult to gain traction later. Tiny Planet Filled With Liars will undoubtedly appeal to fans of satirical science fiction, or even just those who like to laugh out loud at great characters and side-splitting dialogue.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: stephen-m-a science-fiction comedy satire