FICTIONAL ALIGNMENT by Mike French
Elsewhen Press, Kent, UK p/b £12.00 (UK) 380 pages
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan
It is often of value to speculate on the inspiration that leads to the creation of the particular theme that sparked an author down to road to writing a particular book. Currently, there are so many accusations about fake news and lies being peddled as facts that it makes sense for someone to try to ban fiction.
In the world inhabited by Mike French’s characters, androids are accepted as ordinary citizens, living alongside humans. Sapphira is a human, a prostitute and a novelist. In this case, novel retains its original meaning as ‘new’. The book, called “Humans (An Arrangement of Minor Defects)” is actually the distillation of stories her android lover told her when they first met. It is the best selling book for a very long time. The problem is that it is fiction. Nothing that is untrue is allowed to be published or read. This creates a dilemma. Fiction must be erased along with the perpetrator. The androids, Tractatus and Heisenberg are sent to do the job. But because the book is popular there will be an outcry. The solution is to recreate the stories so that they become fact. Since they are bizarre and surreal this is not easy. Much of what follows in the book are the attempts of the two androids to orchestrate the re-enactments with farcical results.
The writing is slick and the characters engaging. Other than the serious question as to the boundaries between fact and fiction and the way that some agencies try to twist one into the other, this book is designed to be entertainment. For those that like their humour over the top and ridiculous this is the kind of book they would enjoy. If you prefer a gentler, less bizarre humour you may this too silly. It would probably work well as an animated production or in graphic form.