Monday, December 22, 2008

The Artificial Man by L.P. Davies

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is to venture over to Half-Price Books and dig around in their clearance sections. [FYI to management: your recent decision to raise the cost of hardcover clearance books to $2 just cost you a whole lot of business from me, buckaroo]


Aside from my obsessive habit of buying any copy of Salem's Lot and The Stand I see, I also enjoy picking up old sci-fi paperbacks. I like the genre, sure, but far more importantly they were considered worthless examples of pulp fiction back in the day and priced accordingly. That means that by the rules of Half Price books I can pick up an old paperback for as little as a quarter - or in the case of The Artificial Man, originally sold for sixty cents, a mere quarter and a nickel.

I'll admit I bought the book for nothing more than the price, as I'd never heard of it or its author, but I was quickly and happily surprised. Within a chapter I was struck by how smooth and eloquent a writer Davies was, and thought to myself - yes, I think in such terms - that it was like 'buttah, pure buttah'.

The book concerns a man in 1966 who is recovering from an auto accident in a small English village. Over the course of the book it becomes apparent that neither the man, his situation, or the village is exactly what it seems. He is a creation of the future State, a tool and agent of intrigue in the dictatorship of 2016's Britain.

The plot is interesting, although it rushes headlong to a climax that feels hurried, and the characters are strong and three dimensional. The writing itself is smooth and undated, and impressive start to finish.

Pick up a copy at your secondhand bookstore or look for it at your local library.



Bridgett said...

Boy, I want a half-price bookstore here!

Books for mere nickels? It's practically orgasmic.

This book actually does sound interesting though....
Thanks for the review.


drgns4vr said...

I love shopping Half-price Books! I really wanted to comment, though, on your book reviews. I think you do a great job with the plot recaps and an even better account of why you like and dislike the book.