I've had the fantastic fortune this week of meeting writer Craig Jones online. Here's Craig's review of DRIFTING ROOM, the novella-length opening story in the Humbaba County cycle.
After an alien abduction accidentally lands Sam Hain in a parallel
universe version of his redwood county home, his only hope of getting
back is finding the pale little almond-eyed being with the bulbous head
who accidentally landed with him and fled into the forest, while,
unknown to Sam, it’s his own blood coming into contact with the
biosphere that’s causing the bugs to grow so big.
MORE THAN SCI-FI
by Craig Jones
You know when you've got something too good to read when you plough through it faster than your new born baby can fill nappies! 'Drifting Room' is one of those stories. It is well written, cleverly crafted and incredibly interesting, yes, but then so are many novels and novellas. What made Stewart Kirby's work stand out for me was the smile it put on my face as I read it. A piece of serious fun, in a nutshell.
Why did I like it so much?
Okay, first off was the material. A good sci-fi needs certain elements (the unknown, a hero you can take to, believable unbelieveability) and what Kirby does really well is to take normal people and put them into very strange situations, which makes the story then become plausible. Then there is the story structure. I was reminded of Dean Koontz and how he used to wield story arcs until, unlike the Ghostbusters, he would cross the beams and bring everyone together in a dramatic conclusion. Many people have tried and failed with this technique, usually one character would have to do something quite bizarre for everything to fall into place but 'Drifting Room' is a tight story and that does not happen here. Then there is the humour. The material may be quite different than say Gaiman and Pratchett but the wit and turn of phrase is there. Cleverly funny is how I would describe it. Like I'd read a line and find myself starting to snigger a few lines later...like I said, cleverly funny Next up are the characters...personally I liked the kind of Irvine Welsh way that the main character (not going to give the plot away) develops as the story progresses. I liked the guy and wanted him to succeed, no doubt about it. And finally, in sci-fi there has to be an ending that you cannot guess at from five pages in...why read it otherwise....and Kirby has that down like Charlie Brown!
Loved this story, off to purchase more from Mr Kirby's back catalogue. I've found a good un here, methinks. I suggest you give 'Drifting Room' a turn too. You will not be disappointed!