Back Dated by Chris Niblock

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Back Dated by Chris Niblock

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Sci-fi writer Ray Flaxman finds himself embroiled in a story that he could have written himself - and with a mission to save the male half of the human race. Interesting plot that quickly engages the reader and maintains its hold right to the end.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: Date: April 2011
Publisher: Amazon Media

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Sci-fi writer Ray Flaxman returns home from a weekend away with his fiancee with a dealine to meet. But he finds his flat broken to into and trashed. Nothing of value has been taken. So Ray suspects his stalker is to blame. Serena has been calling and writing, declaring her love for Ray and her urgent desire to have his child. But Ray has never met her. Even so, he is keen to keep this mystery girl a secret because his fiancee, Frankie, has huge jealousy issues.

But secrets have a tendency to out themselves. And soon Ray finds himself dealing with Serena in person, lying to a policeman, caught by Frankie in flagrante - at least as far as she is concerned, and pursued by Serena's mother and her violent thug of a sidekick. And if that weren't enough, it seems as though the entire male half of the human race is under threat and only Ray can save it. He's going to have to step up to the plate and play the part of one of his own sci-fi heroes if the future is to include the male gender at all...

Back Dated has an original and interesting plot that engages the reader very quickly and holds them right up until the end. We spend quite some time wondering if Serena actually exists at all and even when we find that she does we still have the mystery of exactly who she is and where she comes from. I enjoyed this mystery was pleased that Niblock was in no hurry to give it all away. Ray finds himself beaten up and under police suspicion and for some time we have no more clue as to why than he does.

In the second part of the book, once we've established what is going on, Ray - quite a selfish and shallow man for me - is asked to step to the kind of plate that the fictional characters in his sci-fi novels find so easy to step up to. It's not that easy for Ray. He's not heroic or macho and I must say he is a highly unlikely candidate to be the saviour of all male humans. Funnily enough, this doesn't make this part of the book less successful. I quite like an unlikely hero, and Ray most certainly is one of those.

It's an interesting and unusual story and I really did enjoy reading it. I'm not entirely sure about the premise philosophically - men under threat from butch women of the future seems a little reactionary to me - and the whole thing could do with some stronger copy-editing. But, more importantly, the plot is well-structured, Niblock maintains tension and interest throughout and Ray himself is a flawed but interesting central character. This is a book from an author with great potential.

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Buy Back Dated by Chris Niblock at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Back Dated by Chris Niblock at


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