Derelict Space Sheep, h/b, www.derelictspacesheep.com
Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Anthony is an office worker bored with his existence in suburban London. His desire is to be liked, loved even but when those around him hardly notice him being around, whether it’ s at home or at work he wonders why he isn’t popular like the other guys.
It’s not like Anthony wants the world. Everyone on the planet if they are lonely wants to live in a place where they are surrounded by people who like them. Anthony doesn’t have to wait long before his wish is heard at least by some otherworldly power. The Moment came and went and a couple of hundred people received a new mental ability they didn’t already have. The Power is called The Glamour and those who have it are called Sirens. Anthony is one of those two hundred with the power to make anyone do what he wants. Previous to this; bear in mind he is a lonely guy who has only two friends he goes to the Crown and Anchor pub for lunch. Now Anthony realises the potential of his Siren power at work after he mentally tells one of his superiors to go fuck himself, not realising he would hear and obey him.
Five years after using his Siren power, Anthony is the ruler of the world, a tyrant who governs with an iron fist. To make sense of what he has become, Anthony writes his biography. All the while you think he is trying to question why he holds such a high position as a supreme ruler, but changes his mind, coming to terms with the reality he is two different people in one body. Before he was the last man a girl would go on a date with, now he can have a date with any girl he wants and she can’t refuse him. Making someone do what he wants isn’t the same as free will which is why he lets the new love of his life, Emma free in the hope she will marry him. As one of only two hundred in the world who has this power, you would think that he would feel even lonelier depending on whether he might wrestle with his conscience at being such a control-freak. It’s a dilemma of a book as with the power he has Anthony can get people to do his bidding but will never know if they would truly like him under normal circumstances.
Simon Messingham has written eight novels for the BBC’s Doctor Who series, has a British Fantasy Society Short Story Prize and Best Comedy at the Limelight Film Festival for his short film Not My Wife. Sirens is dark fiction with plenty of comedy that’s seen as tongue in cheek as well as downright funny. Expect lots of laugh out loud moments where you can’t help but laugh at Anthony as much as you dearly want to hate him. This is the sort of read you can’t put down even when it’s time for bed.