01/12/2008. Contributed by Kelly Jensen
pub: Etcetera Press (Europe). Whortleberry Press (USA). 128 page paperback or e-book Price: £ 7.95 (UK), € 9.95 (Europe). ISBN: 978-0-9051-1922-0.
check out websites: www.freewebs.com/etcpress/, www.whortleberrypress.comand www.tonythorne.co.uk
Not many authors of speculative fiction hold the distinction of being a Member of the Order of the British Empire. For developments in the field of low temperature cryo-surgery instruments and very high temperature furnaces, for processing carbon fibre, among other things, the Queen awarded Tony Thorne an MBE, this being only one of a host of scientific and lifetime achievements. Now that he is semi-retired, Tony Thorne has the time to indulge in a hobby that earned him a reputation as a 'nutcase' in his younger years, telling tall tales of speculative and macabre fiction.
A strange mixture of urban myth and speculative fiction often told in Thorne's engaging and journalistic style, this collection of seventeen speculative tales is set in and around the island of Tenerife. The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife holds a special place in the heart of this author and his stories detail the local culture and ecology in a most interesting way.
These tales journey from a micro-Jurassic Park with containment issues, past intelligent dolphins, seals, lizards and genetically engineered chimpanzees, around magic belts and jumping race cars, through black holes and finally rest with a three-part look at a dismal but hopeful future for our planet. Although I enjoyed all of them, these three really stood out:
The first is called 'Hologhosts', a story about five friends that imagine themselves amateur 'ghost-hunters'. Having discovered that history can be stored in certain kinds of rock and emitted as a holographic image, these friends set up camp alongside a volcano in Tenerife. I was alternately fascinated by Thorne's hypotheses regarding the formation of these 'recordings' and amused by the resulting images and the five friends' reactions to them.
The second is called 'Baggage Included', a funny little story about a lost alien, an interstellar transport system and the front half of a commuter bus.
The third is 'Retirement Plan' where Thorne ventures into the macabre. A recent retiree discovers the Internet while planning the first of his, hopefully, many travels during retirement. The moral of the story applies to all of us, however close to retirement we may be.
Tony Thorne's book is available to purchase at bookstores, online retailers and at his website www.tonythorne.co.uk which features many links and interesting facts about his life, work and the island of Tenerife.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA