Monday, 10 June 2013

Book: Future Gone Short stories by Alexandar Tomov Junior

I was given a PDF copy of Future Gone, by Alexandar Tomov Jnr, in exchange for a review.

Future Gone was not what I expected, and I would be tempted to liken the stories more to parables than short stories. I say this too because they seemed to be more inclined towards making you think than having a 'standard' style plot. Because of the way that the stories were written I am actually quite hesitant to put this book firmly into the apocalyptic and dystopian genre, this is because I felt that the stories, or at least some of them, were completely timeless.

Tomov seemed to focus on two main issues in his short stories. The first is death, and what happens after death, and even the inevitability of death. Though in theory this could be quite a depressing topic, the stories are written in such a way that death wasn't at the forefront of my mind, and in some cases, it was only at the end of the story that it was revealed that death played a role at all.

The other issue Tomov focuses on a lot is consumerism and the numbing of human emotion. I put these together as I believe that, from his writing, Tomov gives the impression that the first leads to the second. This leads onto what could probably be seen as the third most important topic of the short stories, human morality, and the complete break down of it. One of the most worrying things brought up by Tomov is that humankind will end up fighting evil with evil.

The one thing that really let this book down, and actually what let the author down too, was the standard of the translation. There were parts of this book where I could really see that in Tomov's original writing (in Bulgarian) the language, phrasing and stories would flow beautifully, however the translator didn't capture this all the way through, and in parts the translation was bordering on clunky. As I said, this really let Tomov's book down, and that it was something that was totally out of his control does make it seem unfair.

But despite the bad translation in places, if you are looking for something to really make you think, then this is the book for you, it does have a slight dystopian/apocalyptic setting but that wasn't an overly large part of the book.