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Walthamstow Central by Ellis Sharp

01/01/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Walthamstow Central in the USA - or Buy Walthamstow Central in the UK

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pub: Zoilus Press. 279 page enlarged paperback. Price: 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-90287-892-2.

A series of disappearances is giving the police some cause for concern. Random citizen are ringing in to report a loved one who has disappeared in front of their eyes. The odd thing is that although these people cannot be seen they can be heard in a grisly echo. A grisly reminder of loss they continue to ask their loved ones for help, until they gradually fade away.

Edgar Strobey has time travelled to Walthamstow Central to meet a woman. His doppelganger has already been and built up relationships and that included the dangerous pastime of joining friends who liked to rob banks. He only has ten days before his own identity is destroyed to protect the integrity of the time-line. Meanwhile, the mysterious Mirando Mirando, a dangerous anarchist, is trying to destroy its fabric.

This novel has an interesting current affairs point. It is set around the time of a collider going on-line. The European Hadron Collider is still trying to mend itself so we will see if the events in this novel or something like them might happen when it finally makes its first big bang. I cannot vouch for the physics involved but it makes for a peculiar few chapters as the full impact of the collider becomes clear.

There are several key characters that to hang our narrative needs on. This book is an exercise in cleverness and I enjoyed many of the conceits you don't get to empathise with any of the characters. Sometimes when you get to the end of a book you feel like you have dropped off a precipice and desperately desire to go back to the beginning again to achieve that feeling like snowboarding if I was brave enough. This is not one of those books. It is intellectually fascinating but emotionally empty. Very clever, but I felt afterwards I had read a textbook with illustrations. Interesting, but not human.

Sue Davies

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This book has 60 votes in the sci-fi charts

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