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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
George by Nigel Anthony has two main threads. In a short opening chapter, we are introduced to Axel Jay who is part of the technical crew on board the starship Bountiful 9 and a character of whom we will learn much more as the book progresses. Next comes George, the title character, along with his wife Rose and his good friend and drinking companion Malcolm. George is engaged in writing the ultimate bestseller - he has identified the most popular genres and intends to pen a novel which will include romance, comedy, sci-fi, porn and horror. The narrative goes on to describe the many detailed conversations George has with Malcolm during their regular weekly meeting at their favourite watering hole, The White Swan public house. It also describes his domestic arrangements and his delighted surprise as his wife mistakes his manuscript notes for secret sexual desires and arranges to fulfil several erotic fantasies. Alongside George’s exploits, the narrative describes the adventures of Axel Jay and the crew of the Bountiful 9 as they become embroiled with an offshoot of the human race known as the Perfs and their quarrel with the Toleg, violent aliens bent on their destruction; how Axel is selected to donate his DNA in a very unexpected way; how the Bountiful 9 is attacked and how they and their attackers find themselves in another galaxy and a whole lot of trouble.
Nigel Anthony’s character George sets out to create a romantic, comedy, sci-fi, porn, horror novel and he has largely succeeded. There is romance and a good deal of comedy, which had me laughing out loud on occasion. The science fiction is well described and truly imaginative and the same goes for the porn, which manages to convey the necessary lust and carnality without becoming offensive. The horror is gruesome and frightening but also serves to increase the reader’s regard for the central characters. George is a strange book. It is well written, the characters are solid and sympathetically drawn, while the narrative moves along at a brisk pace, maintaining one’s attention throughout. Nevertheless, the way in which it has been put together really should not work, but somehow it does. It has a sense of Peter Tinniswood’s Carter Brandon novels on the one hand with echoes of Robert Heinlein on the other. I have to admit though that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish Mr Anthony every success with it. I hope he will continue to grace the sci-fi genre with his quirky work. I will certainly make a point of looking out for him in the future.