01/10/2010. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: Huw Langridge. 196 pages paperback. Price: book: GBP 6.99 (UK), download: GBP 4.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4461-8196-6.
check out website: www.huwlangridge.co.uk
Huw Langridge from Surrey in the UK has been writing fiction for some years and has recently put together a collection of his ‘Axiom Few’ short stories in book form. This will be released during September 2010 and anyone wishing to purchase a copy should look at his website for further details.
The Axiom Few? If you have read ‘Jupiter’ Science Fiction magazine in the past or any of my reviews of that magazine then you will have heard the name. In fact, three of the eight stories in the collection have appeared in ‘Jupiter’ editions but the other five are completely original and unpublished. The Axiom Few is the name of a group of three individuals, Archer, Geek and Davey, young guys with exceptional abilities who are based in a shack under a motorway in Britain. Set about 50 years from now, they use their talents to try to solve enigmatic problems that beset the world and the universe and also save humanity in the process.
Highly entertaining and written at a furious pace, the stories are very enjoyable. I have had the honour of writing an introduction to the book but don't let that put you off. I can assure you that the rest of the writing is all at a high standard. We are taken to exploding planets, loops in time and space and invading aliens. There's nothing twee about all this. It's serious mind-bending stuff which will leave you on the edge of your seat.
The guys from Axiom are not in it for money, prestige or power! Actually, they have simple lives and would rather remain anonymous. Few people on Earth realise that they had saved their necks on numerous occasions but that's the way they like it. Although they are gifted individuals, they are very much like the rest of us and it is easy to identify with them. Maybe that's why the stories come across so well. Visualisation and descriptions, almost graphic nature, enable you to live with characters throughout their adventures.
‘The Ceres Configuration’ sets the scene. We learn about Archer and his difficult relationship with his father and are also taken to the asteroid belt in the solar system. Once part of a larger planet which exploded to create the thousands of asteroids in the area between Mars and Jupiter, concern is expressed when the remains of a bomb are discovered on Ceres and a similar but unexploded bomb is found on Earth.
The eight stories are not disconnected but have a theme running through the entire series. Angst and doom! You could describe them as such but there is also humour and frantic action taking you to the last second of impending destruction.
I don't want to say too much about the stories because, well, that would be a spoiler. Safe to say, ‘The Voidant Lance’ witnesses a large pointed object heading for Earth at high velocity. With sufficient force to obliterate 99% of life, assistance comes from a curious source. In a later story entitled ‘The Autumn Structure’, the perpetrators are revealed but the aliens have demands which are impossible to grant.
Time loops of paradoxical dimensions appear in ‘The Darken Loop’ and also ‘The Detention Spore’. In the latter, Geek receives a letter from his father in prison detailing a deadly virus that has broken out amongst the inmates. However, on visiting his father it appears that no letter was ever sent. We also have a story about the initial formation of The Axiom Few.
I think there is a lot more to come from Axiom. This collection may just be the start of something quite big so if you want to be there at the beginning, get a hold of this book. The stories are fresh and exciting and definitely recommended.
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