Friday, May 12, 2006

Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith


Michael Marshall Smith writes weird books.

Only Forward is the story of Stark, a man who can get things done. As such, he is employed as a freelancer by the Department of Doing Things Especially Quick, a division of the Action Centre.

He is contracted to find out what happenned to an important executive of the Action Centre, seemingly kidnapped on his way to work. His journey will take us through many varied neighborhoods, each an independent political and social entity, where the neighborhood itself acts to fulfill the wishes of its populace.

Stark lives in Color Neighborhood, which is for people '"heavily into color." The streets and buildings adapt to the people nearby, finding brilliant ways to offset and compliment the bright colors of passersby. His first stop on the journey is to Red Neighborhood, a nest of organized crime, where weapons are readily available, and turf wars smear the streets with carnage. We also find ourselves in Cat Neighborhood; an area reserved for and run by cats. You don't mess with the cats.

Written in the first person, featuring a badass futuristic protaganist in a gritty urban setting, and focussing on a central whodunit mystery, Only Forward is like Altered Carbon on acid.

If this sounds the least bit interesting, I urge you to pick up the Subterranean Press limited hardcover while it's still available from finer booksellers. Smith is a master storyteller, and this is his first novel. At 34 dollars (from clarkesworld), you can purchase the first hardcover release in a signed and numbered deluxe format of this modern classic of science fiction for slightly more than the cost of a new hardcover.

8.5/10

Collector's Notes:

This Subterranean Press edition has sold on eBay and abebooks.com for 50-60 dollars, and so the Clarkesowrld price is a bargain. The lettered state of this release with traycase is unavailable, and could garner signifigantly more if made available. First edition softcovers sell for around 50 dollars.

Comments on "Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith"

 

Anonymous Luzifer's right hand said ... (4:23 PM) : 

A cool book.
I have only a cheap paperback vopy of course. :p

 

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