April 6, 2015

Dreaming and Scheming: a review of James Walley's "The Forty-First Wink"

The Forty-First Wink
by James Walley
Ragnarok Publications (2014)
154 pages
ASIN B00L0LCCIG
Available at Amazon.com

Well, that was weird.

If you wonder who out there might be around to offer the kind of whimsy and weirdness that readers loved from Terry Pratchett, James Walley is a writer you may want to consider.

In The Forty-First Wink, Marty is your usual lovable schlub. One morning he awakes with what he believes to be one monster hangover. Why else would there be monkeys in his bedroom wielding polo mallets?

Well, turns out Marty is trapped inside his own mind, or more accurately, his dreams. All of the wacky and whacked out entities now surrounding him have populated his dreams for as long as he can remember, and finds himself aligning with a few to find a way to wake up and stop his mirror-image doppelganger from sabotaging his plans. The tiny toy pirate might be some help. The actual girl of his dreams, too. The psycho clown? Err ... maybe keep looking.

With an abandonment of dry British humor and an embracing of the absurd, Forty-First Wink is a mix of Alice in Wonderland and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with some Robot Chicken for seasoning. It's madly off in all directions, yet manages to keep a towline of a plot pushing the story forward through the kaleidoscopic dreamscape that is Marty's mind.

It might be a bit rough around the edges, but it's fun and a strong showing from a debut author that has my attention when it comes to his next book.

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