They love it, They love it not, They love it…

shrugging.jpg shrugging image by shaynekeator   

Reviewers of my second novel.


When my second novel, Flying Saucer Rock & Roll, was published eight months ago, the general reaction in press and online reader reviews was one of overwhelming indifference, more or less along the lines of, ‘Reasonably amusing, doesn’t really go anywhere, didn’t like the end.’

Although the book did what I wanted it to, I had to reconcile myself to the fact that it wasn’t one that people seemed to warm to that much.  Not the nicest feeling in the world, but then it wasn’t like I’d written the script for ‘The Hottie and the Nottie’.  Nothing to do but brush myself down, move on to the next thing and hope that it fares a bit better…

Recently, however, there’s been an interesting twist.  Out of nowhere, I’ve been getting quite a steady flow of unsolicited messages from various people saying (in summary) that they very much liked the book, identified with it and understood fully why the story has to do what it does.

Not only that, but there have been various positive blog reviews popping up.  As mentioned before, comic book writer Rol Hirst gave it a very positive write-up, while this week, top book blogger Scott Pack wrote about it, giving it four stars out of five, and author Denyse Kirkby also discussed it, giving a fascinating reading in relation to the issue of Asberger’s Syndrome.

So it looks like I’ve written a book that can communicate after all.  Still, it came as quite a surprise to find that what I thought was a fairly innocuous novel about teenagers playing in a rock band would attract far greater public displays of malignant bile in my direction than writing about a compulsively masturbating, homophobic, verbally abusive, sociopathic Elvis impersonator.

It’s considered bad form for writers to respond to their critics (although Dan Rhodes, a man known to say nice things about me when asked, does just that on his website).  I can’t resist, however, drawing attention to a couple simply for humour value.

The first comes from the reviewer of the Leeds Guide, who claimed that ‘it will engage a certain reader from a certain generation who doesn’t have much time and thought to invest in fiction that delves deeper than reminiscing about the records we used to like.  More Corduroy than Radiohead.’  Which rather suggests that although he’s recommending the book to a certain portion of his readership, he has nothing but contempt for that portion.  If I was living in Leeds, I’d feel so glad to have my taste filtered by that chap!

The prize however, has to go to a certain regular poster on the Guardian Book Blog, who responded to a piece I was asked to write about bands in novels with a quite lengthy tirade, telling me that, ‘The truth about rock is different from what you try to put over and you may make money out of it but you promoters should for a moment open up your ears and listen to those whose health you ruin. rock is an arrogant pretentious and sick movement and thrives on abuse.’

When some other posters made the mistake of not taking her entirely seriously, the whole thing escalated into a gargantuan free-for-all that has to be read to be believed.  It’ll take a while to get through it all, but trust me, it’s worth it.

So if you haven’t read Flying Saucer Rock & Roll, why not give it a go.  You might love it.  You may just think it’s all right.  Or you could be thrown into a rage of such astounding fury you’ll feel compelled to splurge it all over the Internet.  There’s only one way to find out.

Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll


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