Connected by Simon Denman
|Connected by Simon Denman|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A blend of mystery thriller and sci-fi forms the basis of this speculative novel, which brings together string theory, fractals, a naive student, a bored middle-aged engineer, a femme fatale and an organised crime syndicate. A disparate mix, but it makes for an enjoyable read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 215||Date: June 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Doug, a maths and computing undergraduate at Essex University, has just pulled the most amazing girl. So he's not really that interested in the file of fractals research best friend Kal has just sent him. But while Doug and Cindy are busily getting it on, something has gone horribly wrong for Kal and Doug emerges from afternoon delight to the horrific discovery that his friend has committed suicide. Miles away in the countryside, Peter is attending his brother's funeral. Martin was a musician but not a tortured artist and it seems inconceivable that he too would take his own life. But the trip, for Peter, is more than a family obligation - it's the chance of a break from a stale marriage and an opportunity to indulge in some guilty proximity to his newly-bereaved sister-in-law.
What neither man knows is that these two deaths are linked by a groundbreaking discovery, one which brings together string theory, fractals, a naive student, a bored middle-aged engineer, a femme fatale and an organised crime syndicate. What is the Dream Zone? And how many more deaths will follow?
Connected blends mystery thriller and science fiction to enjoyable effect.
Any criticisms are really only technical, easily put right with a thorough edit. This Kindle production doesn't always justify text and other typesettings are also inconsistent. Sometimes new paragraphs are indented and sometimes they aren't. Sometimes there are line breaks between paragraphs and sometimes there aren't. This, in particular, obstructs the flow of reading: are we at the end of a subsection of a chapter or being distracted by inconsistent typesetting? Anything that breaks concentration in a book shouldn't be there. At one point, Nadia takes a wad of £100 notes from a safe. She's in London. You don't generally see £100 notes outside of Scotland or Northern Ireland. And some of the dialogue tags are a little bit gauche.
However, these, rather trivial, nitpicks aside, Connected provides a thoroughly enjoyable read for fans of speculative fiction. Denman's various and disparate characters are gradually joined by a well-thought-through plot and this chimes in very nicely with the overall theme of space-time dimensions and interconnectedness. The science is explained well - not too simplistically but within reach of the average reader - and it never gets in the way of plot advancement. I can also speak for accuracy - in a rather super piece of serendipity, large parts of the book are set at Essex University in William Morris tower (part of the student accommodation). I went to Essex, and I lived in William Morris for a year!
I really enjoy this genre. When done properly, it gives you the kind of book that keeps you thinking long after you've finished reading and Connected certainly succeeds in this regard. It also offers a satisfying plot and characters who keep you interested. I liked Doug, the openhearted, slightly naive student and was intrigued by Nadia. Peter, the bored husband in a touch of midlife crisis, got right up my nose. I say this as a positive thing - I want the books I read to give me characters that provoke a reaction!
Connected is definitely worth the couple of quid it'll cost you to download over at Amazon.
If you like the blend of thriller and sci-fi that speculative fiction provides, we'd recommend The Execution Channel and The Restoration Game, both by the inimitable Ken MacLeod. And if you're interested in reading about what scary theories are gaining currency in science at the moment, you'll love What is Your Dangerous Idea?, which contains 108 short essays by the world's leading thinkers.
You can read more book reviews or buy Connected by Simon Denman at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Connected by Simon Denman at Amazon.com.
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