Michael Marshall Smith's surreal, groundbreaking, and award-winning debut which resonates with wild humour interlaced with dark recollections of an emotional minefield. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection. Stark is the hero the future is waiting for -- God help it. He's smart, alarmingly cool, and has immaculate taste in shirts. He's a ...
Michael Marshall Smith's surreal, groundbreaking, and award-winning debut which resonates with wild humour interlaced with dark recollections of an emotional minefield. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection. Stark is the hero the future is waiting for -- God help it. He's smart, alarmingly cool, and has immaculate taste in shirts. He's a troubleshooter in the City, a lawless sprawl of Neighbourhoods which covers the country from coast to coast. Each is totally geared to the desires of those who live in it, from can-do corporate types, through deranged criminals, to people who just don't like loud noises. Stark accepts a job from Zenda Renn, the human face of the Action Centre -- where people who have to be doing something all the time hang out. Someone's missing. Zenda needs him found, and soon. In a world where the past and future, reality and dreams meet and have a fist fight, Stark is the only man who can make a difference. Time's running out and there's no going back. Only Forward.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-11-26 The dazzling pyrotechnics of British author Smith's last two future noir spectacles, Spares (under option to DreamWorks) and One of Us (under option to Warner Brothers), are prefigured in his promise-filled debut novel, a 1994 U.K. paperback original now seeing its first hardcover publication. Set in a stylized future City where individuals live in neighborhoods organically responsive to their moods and lifestyles, the story begins as a routine missing persons case for its narrator, Stark, an irreverent soft-boiled detective type who specializes in "finding people, or things." Stark's retrieval of Fell Alkland, a scientist who has fled the driven environment of Action Center for the placid Stable neighborhood, proves relatively easy. But pursuit by Action Center operatives and Alkland's crippling work-related nightmares force Stark and his quarry to escape to Jeamland, a collective repository of dreams and childhood memories that Stark appears to know very well, and to which, as he discovers only belatedly, he has been lured back deliberately. The genius of Smith's narrative is its casual revelation that the detective scenario and detailed elaborations of the City that pull the reader into the story are clue-filled set-ups for the real story of Stark's self-discovery in Jeamland. Ultimately, this requires chapters of explanatory exposition that slow down the finale and betray the awkwardness of a new writer growing into his skills. Nevertheless, the story blazes with a visionary intensity that fires its imagery and fuels its premise that "once you've gone forward, you can't go home again." (Dec.) FYI: Last year's mass market edition of this novel won the Philip K. Dick award for distinguished science fiction published as a paperback original in the U.S. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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