Americosis Vol. I
23 July 2015 Leave a comment
Author: Haydn Wilks
Summary: A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have travelled through time. He says that he’s America’s savior.
A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.
And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels. His aides think he’s crazy. The electorate might not agree with them.
It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5
Review: I was asked to review this book by the publisher, and the synopsis truly tempted me. Time travel, infection, mental health and a possible apocalypse… it has so many of my favourite things and sounded perfectly weird and wonderful.
It’s a short book, made up of several separate narratives that gradually weave together. That aspect really worked well for me. Seeing the characters and plots meet and overlap builds the excitement and keeps me reading. At first you might think all the stories are in different worlds–sexually-transmitted infection, time travel, psychology; these things are usually contained in their own story. But seeing them all come together into one really weird story is fascinating and fun.
The first thing that struck me was the well executed second person narrative in the first chapter. It really set a mood and suited the story. It set it aside from the other narratives and gave a distinct voice to that plot thread. I was less enamoured with the voices of the other two narratives, but that’s because i disliked the characters more, which was kind of the point.
There were definitely characters i liked, though. I like the time-traveller, naive as he seemed in some ways. I liked dinosaur-loving Libby. I liked Erica, the strong independent women. I think what i liked most about them was their intelligence, but also their potential. Their stories aren’t over, and i’m interested to see where volume two of this series takes them.
Talking of dinosaurs, though… yes, this book really does have everything, and that chapter was certainly one of my favourites!
Unfortunately this book does have some aspects that kept me from enjoying it too much. From the first two chapters you could be forgiven for thinking you’d started reading a pornography. The first chapter is forgivable–it’s not focused on sex, but sex is an integral part of that narrative. The second chapter, however, seemed quite a mindless start to the time-traveller narrative, focused at it was on his gigantic cock. After the first two chapters, though, there was much less focus on any kind of sex, and the real stories evolved.
I think the biggest thing holding this book back, though, is the writing. The ideas, stories and interest is all there, but the writing comes across as quite amateurish. I did wonder if it was supposed to; if that was the style. I’m still not sure if it was, but either way, it didn’t work for me. It’s written more like trashy fiction, which generally I am not a fan of. For me it undermines any concept the book could be getting at; it makes the whole book into a joke, rather than being a funny book. I’m not opposed to trashy fiction generally–i’ve read enough Stephen King for that to be impossible–but i hadn’t expected that of this book.
I’m interested in reading volume two of this series, and i’m anticipating liking it more, now i know what i’ll be getting into. I’m also crossing my fingers for the apocalypse that synopsis has promised me!
This knocks one square off my Bookish Bingo: Published in the last month.