series review: a tale of the final fall of man by andrew hindle

When you're forging a career as a writer, it's sometimes painful to have writer friends. Especially when they want you to edit or read their work. I've always got a few excuses ready. Some of them are genuine. Andrew and I have been friends since Uni and, by rights, I should have an excuse ready for him, too. But I never need one, because it's always a pleasure.

I was entirely unsure what to expect when he first turned Eejit over to me. It was, he announced, the first in a new series for him. A scifi series which is set during the aftermath of some terrible Event. So, it's kind of a post-apocalyptic survival story set after some mysterious armageddon. In space. Okay, says I. Sounds fun.

To provide some background, I have to mention that in all my life, I've never met anyone who can churn out stories filled with humour like he can. He has a blog which you can read if you're interested. He posts short stories, background reading to his books, chats about general stuff and influences and you'll also get a look at what it's like to be an immigrant, since he packed his bags and left Australia for the rather cooler climate of Finland. Madness, I tell you. Without an ounce of Finnish language to his credit, he's managed to build what could only be considered a nerdy version of the perfect family life. And considering he's gone through (at last count) 2-3 bouts of cancer to various parts of his body, he's not doing too badly at all. He also met Christopher Lee.

If he weren't my friend, I'd hate him just for that.

In any case, I turned the first few pages of Eejit (links to the books below) with more than a few chortles and, before I knew it, I was finished. And wanting more. Let me tell you why.

Scifi, for me, is these days too influenced by Star Trek, Star Wars, or Neuromancer. If it's not boiling with fairly simplified fantasy plots set in space, it's going the route of Peter Hamilton (who admittedly blows my mind but you need to take a few weeks off work to read him and try to keep up with all the characters - the first books for which I've ever actually needed the Wiki whilst reading). Andrew decided on something a little different. Something softer in pace and more quirky in tone. I've described his books often as something like Red Dwarf crossed with The Office, buttered up with a few scraps of Iain M Banks and then put in the oven for a few hours until its juices leak a little Asimov. Sprinkle with a delicate touch of Douglas Adams and serve with a side of HOLY FUCK THERE'S FUCKING SPACE SHARKS IN THIS THING!

I kid you the fuck not. Space sharks.

Now, I honestly don't know who could have pulled this off with as much class as this. Also, instead of throwing them in your face, they're used with such exquisite scarcity that their menace is made even more powerful. Introduced over time, and even given a book devoted to learning more about them (Fergunakil), they work to provide a disturbingly effective dark side of the universe in a way I can't even begin to describe. These space sharks have ships. They fly about and eat people. Fucking amazing. I wish I'd thought of this. If I ever get a TARDIS, I'm going to go back in time and I'm going to steal this idea.

Space sharks.

Man.

Anyway. It's not all about space sharks. They're not even the central focus of the story. It's also not all about massive cube-shaped telepathic refrigerator people. Or insane computers, Walt Disney merged with Skynet, or spacey wacey timey wimey what-the-fucks. There's more than that. There's even some characters in this series. A lot of them, actually. And what I find remarkably pleasant is the fact that they all get their Avengers moments. They all have something to bring to the table which makes them interesting. And, with a seriously erratic and quirky humour, hilarious. Especially, and I say this because I'm me, the wonderful psychopathic doctor Glomulus Cratch. Actually, no matter who you relate to you're going to be satisfied.

As you possibly figured by the mention of some of the more exotic aliens above (SPACE SHARKS!), the array of alien and technological life in this series is spectacular. The depths to which Andrew chooses to explore cultures and give you a genuine feel for each alien race shows an incredibly deft hand when it comes to world-building.

Each book in the series could arguably stand alone, but there's a definite sense of progression and character development within their arcs. Many characters have mysteries and secrets, not least the reclusive and manipulative Captain. You get a real sense this series is driving toward something rather explosive and I, for one, can't wait for it.

If you're looking for a new scifi series which is well-written, somewhat like Lost in space (ha - see what I did there?), and doesn't treat you like a moron, then this is it. This is the one for you. And, as a bonus reward for reading it, you'll be getting SPACE SHARKS! What more could you want????

Space sharks.

Jeez.

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