Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: The Other by Matthew Hughes

The Other by Matthew Hughes

231 pages Underland Press

I happened across this novel at the library and picked it up based on the strength of the press. Underland Press. A Portland based indie press who released books by two of my favorite authors Brian Evenson and John Shirley. Hughes a Canadian author is new to me but has novels published with both Nightshade and Angry Robot. I can’t say where this novel fits in with his greater style I can only judge this one.

The story centers around a character named Luff Imbry, (A few minutes of research told me Luff has been in other novels by Hughes) he is an overweight ne’er do-well who starts off the story being abducted and dumped on the planet Fulda. A far off world that was founded by humans but long since forgotten. Imbry tries to get off the world and has many adventures while he discovers that the people of the planet founded their civilization on a belief of total conformity.

The best thing about this novel is the tongue in cheek tone and the many laughs throughout. The setting is interesting with effective and quick world building that doesn’t bloat the word count. Luff is a funny character, I can’t say I cared much about him, but the laughs carried me through. It seems to be influenced heavily by Vance's Dying Earth books, almost to the point of being set in the same universe.

The novel seems to explore the concepts of individuality, and that should have been more interesting. While I was amused thorough-out I found the setting of Fulda a little uninteresting after awhile. While I was not a huge fan of this novel, it had good enough moments that I probably will try another Matthew Hughes novel.

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