Stone Clock (The Spin Trilogy 3) by Andrew Bannister (book review).

October 3, 2018 | By | Reply More

I’m always worried when the explanation of what the story is about on the cover sleeve isn’t reached until some 43 pages into the book. The Spin is a series of virtual realities or vrealities with Skarbro flitting across a few of them in what appears to be cockroach-like body form as he does so. He’s not even doing something significant other than getting laid from time to time.

It also appears that he is dying and so in The Spin but not whether there is a connection between the two. Some of the inhabitants are aware that they are in a virtual reality and some are also real guests from outside of The Spin. It’s a bit hard to explain just what the antagonistic creature The Bird is or why it stays a companion to Skarbro. Several times, its name is put in lowercase which should have been caught at the editing stage.

Two-thirds of the way through the book and I’m still not sure what is going on. Skarbro is pretty much a passive player in all of this and as much as author Andrew Bannister is a good writer, ‘Stone Clock’ meanders a lot and feels more like fantasy than Science Fiction. Granted with virtual reality anything goes but there is no indication of where the story is really going.

There is an implication of two different sets of characters are connected but that was easy to figure out. I’m still wondering what the Stone Clock actually is as there’s no reference to it. Often with stories, you will find a line connection that makes sense of the title.

No matter how bewitching the writing style is, ‘Stone Clock’ is devoid of fresh SF ideas. There are some aspects that verge on Matrix-style jumping in an out of virtual realities but there is little detail as to what is going on. I’m sure author Andrew Bannister has a decent SF story in him, just a shame it’s not this one.

It was only when I was locating this cover that there was a reference that this was book 3 of a trilogy. You would hardly notice by reading this and I’m not sure if knowing what happened in the previous two books would have helped me here.

GF Willmetts

October 2018

(pub: Bantam Press/Penguin. 322 page hardback. Price: £18.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-593-07652-1)

check out websites: www.penguin.co.uk and www.andrewbannister.com

 

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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