Title: The Silent Voice by Christopher Hodder-Williams
Publisher: Endeavour Press
The Silent Voice is an interesting enough premise – astronauts are returning from an extended mission in space, only to discover that all is not what it seems when they return. Their landing is diverted into the middle of nowhere, there is no welcoming party waiting for them, and they discover that they have landed in the middle of a nuclear war zone. Machines have taken over the world, are mind-controlling people to do their bidding… I guess they missed the memo on that one.
I’m going to be perfectly honest. I was about 90% of the way through The Silent Voice when I realised I had no actual idea what the hell was going on in this book. Part of this results from the formatting – the book is told through a series of journal-like entries, combined with transcriptions of audio recordings, which is the main character’s shtick. I was never quite sure whether it was being told in past, or present tense, and events and characters seemed to jump around all over the world without any particular rhyme, reason or explanation.
If it was the author’s intention to develop a sense of madness, or psychosis – which is part of the storyline admittedly – in the reader, he certainly did a number on my noggin.I had no idea whether this was all a sort of simulation… I guess it is left open to interpretation. I found it extremely difficult to connect with any of the characters, due to the odd narrative style.
In the end, the novel left me feeling deeply unsatisfied, and felt more like a piece of experimental art than a cohesive narrative. I think the author got too cute with the style, and forgot about developing the actual substance of what might have otherwise been an interesting discussion.
I received a review copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
1.5 stars for trying something different.