Floored by Mark Lingane
|Floored by Mark Lingane|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: A bleak post-apocalyptic fable that takes inspiration from Frankenstein may not be a fun read, but it's a good one, including some well-drawn connections with our reality.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: July 2016|
|Publisher: Insync Holdings|
|External links: Author's website|
1.Nemo has been brought back from death by Doctineer Viktor. The fact that she was once dead combined with her new form as a pleasure bot makes her worthless – a human/robot hybrid zero. But even zeros have ambitions, even if they're dangerous.
Eclectic Australian author Mark Lingane stays once again with science fiction; a genre that's brought him accolades in the past. (His YA Tesla series won him a Book Life fiction prize.) This time out though we definitely have a novella for adults.
Mark has a knack for taking references and inspiration from various, often unexpected sources. In the case of Floored its genesis is principally Frankenstein. In fact Mark even provides footnotes, linking his book back to Mary Bysshe Shelley's original Victorian gothic novel. The question is if Mary picked up Mark's novel and had a riffle through it, would she recognise it? Yes, she would definitely see her influence and probably be pleasantly surprised at what he's done with it.
1.Nemo is effectively the Frankenstein's monster equivalent. Although perhaps not as monstrous to us, to the people surrounding her she has a monstrosity borne of her background and purpose. By saving her life, Dr Viktor has condemned her to an existence as a pleasure item for men (putting it tactfully), side lining her hopes, wishes and intelligence. In fact Mark integrates a wonderful Pretty Woman homage scene, proving the point. Since the style and content of the film is poles apart from the style and content of the book, it serves as a great example of the fascinating, if unexpected, ways Mark's magpie brain juxtaposes.
This is a world in which people and robot/human hybrids are graded and judged by the numbers prefixing their names. 1. is among the dregs at the bottom whereas 10. denotes a form of aristocratic leadership that we'd recognise as dictatorship. Life isn't easy at the top either. The rule of noblesse oblige has its good side but there are still the internecine struggles to contend with.
No character is totally fleshed out but, even if that was a sin, it's totally forgivable in this context. Floored is a fable and, as in the case of the best fables it reflects our world in many ways. Mainly Mark directs our imaginations to think about the tragic effect of snap, sweeping judgements and society's treatment of those who fail or refuse to conform. This is in addition to an equally topical layer begging us to look at responsibilities inherent in using robotics to create or 'enhance' the life of society.
The style of this novella is definitely Lingane but in full gritty, violent mode that's a world apart from his early, more flippant works such as the Ellen Martin books. That's not a criticism, that's how it should be; this is Lingane, the writer grown up. He presents us with themes that should jolt us and, occasionally causes us to recoil in shock or disgust.
Its dark background and splashes of brutality ensure it's not a cosy read. We may not even enjoy it since we're empathising with 1.Nemo but it is a good thought provoking read. Indeed if life has ensured we've become inured to the injustices around us stories like this have and will become more essential to help us examine how far we've come and where we, as society, are going.
As usual, huge thanks to Mark for providing us with a copy for review.
Further Reading: If you haven't come across Mr L before, we suggest a journey across his different incarnations, from the fun thriller Chasing Heart: 1 to the beginning of his excellent, spine tingling Tesla Evolution series. (The series warms up as it goes.) If you're a fan already or you'd like to stick to post-apocalyptic SF, we also heartily recommend The Pesthouse by Jim Crace.
Floored by Mark Lingane is in the Top Ten Self-Published Books 2016.
You can read more book reviews or buy Floored by Mark Lingane at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Floored by Mark Lingane at Amazon.com.
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