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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Janus Effect

I was pleased recently to receive a copy of The Janus Effect, the first novel by my old friend and fellow writer, Alan Cash. We met many years ago as members of the Birmingham Science Fiction Writers Group, to which Alan still belongs.

I've just finished reading the book, so what did I think of it? I'm glad to say I enjoyed it. It's a fast-paced science fiction adventure story, with echoes of The Matrix and (dare I say it?) Doctor Who.

The Janus Effect is set in Britain in 2040, where Eugenics is the dominant philosophy and only the genetically perfect are allowed to breed. The central character, Moss/Loratu (you need to read the book to understand the two names), leads an undercover resistance movement. The trouble is, he has been captured and 20 years have been wiped from his memory. The book concerns his struggle to remember who he is and change the past to protect the future.

The story starts and continues at breakneck pace, with a series of twists and double-twists that keep you guessing right to the end. It also includes some very interesting speculations about the nature and consequences of time travel.

If I have any criticism, it is that some of the characters are drawn a little thinly. Then again, this is really a novel of action and ideas rather than characterization and character development. From that point of view, I could easily see it making a successful Hollywood movie (though it would need a big budget!). If you like intelligent, science-fiction adventure stories, it's a good read.

The Janus Effect is published by Welsh publishing house Y Lolfa at £6.95, or at the discount price of £5.95 from Amazon.co.uk via the link below.


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