Yes folks, it’s like waiting for buses to come along…. reviews I mean. I seem to remember someone saying this about girlfriends many years ago, to which a friend replied that most of his were “two man operated”. Is that a UK-specific transportation joke I wonder? But I digress. Three new reviews of my third novel “Apoidea” are all worth mentioning here, but first of all, for an obligatory post picture, here’s a photo courtesy of our cover artist in Shanghai (Mauricio Estrella) modelling the book with his left hand. Maestro of robot bee graphics, take a bow, Mauricio.
Now to the reviews. Sami Airola of the Finnish website Rising Shadow, has described Apoidea as:
“…basically a near future science fiction thriller, but in my opinion it’s also much more than that. It’s a story about one man’s life, his choices and his ideas. It’s interesting that Gert compares himself to great historical figures and worries about what’s going to happen when things go wrong and how his robot bees are going to be used to different purposes… Douglas Thompson has clearly spent a lot of time gathering information about bees and technology before writing this book. His research has paid off, because Apoidea is intelligent fiction for adults. Although Apoidea is a short book, it’s full of good fiction and that’s why it’s almost possible to call it “high literature”.
The author writes sophisticatedly about the new inventions and handles philosophical elements in a perfect way without preaching. After reading Sylvow and Apoidea I can say that Douglas Thompson has his own literary voice. In my opionion Douglas Thompson is an author to watch, because he writes fascinating and intelligent science fiction books.”
Then Martha Hubbard writing at the prestigious Future Fire website put this slant on it:
“All over the world, governments and farmers are handing control of their livelihoods and nutritional security to giant corporations that have greed as their primary motivator. These are very real issues that have been brilliantly addressed writers like Paolo Bacigalupi in The Windup Girl. Apoidea is a worthy member of this pantheon…
…This is where I saw the real parallels with Apoidea. What is interesting, exciting and frightening is the power of the hive mind, its uncontrollability, once set in motion, as Del learns to his detriment. Individually an ‘apo’ has limited intellectual capacity; collectively, in the tens of thousands they can learn, reason, plan and carry out complicated group activities that in the book make them a formidable force. In the way that many of the most important events of 2011, the Arab Spring and OWS were reported and driven by multitudes using social media hint at a sea-change in the way revolutions are carried out, the rise and proliferation of linked world wide social media may be a seminal event on the same history changing order as the Gutenberg printing press…
…Apoidea is an exciting adventure story that raises some challenging questions about the world we are creating.”
It’s great when someone gets a book and even adds another layer of interpretation to it beyond what you considered yourself, and the robot bees as metaphor for the role of Twitter in the Arab Spring certainly comes under that bracket. Last but not least, Horror diva Jeani Rector has lavished praise on Apoidea over at her Horrorzine review site, even comparing it to Michael Crichton (Hey Mike, let’s have your Hollywood contacts list!). Jeani writes:
“Douglas Thompson has brilliantly taken facts and spun them into a fast-paced work of fiction involving the FBI, politics, intrigue, high tech, and a chase across the American border into a Mexican cave. There is humor in the book, such as Steve Dobs of Lemon (a sour version of Apple) and Bill Yates of Winterra (a cold version of Windows). The funniest is President Palin, but that one is perhaps not so humorous when you remember that the USA elected George W. Bush….twice.
But the main attraction to Apoidea is the excitement Thompson’s talent generates…
…Apoidea is a very satisfying techno-thriller with believable characters and an even more believable plot. It twists and turns into one surprise after another, relentless in its grip it has on the reader. On top of all that, there are ethical questions and soul searching that touches the heart. The pace and timing of the plotlines are nearly perfect.
I rarely rave about a book like I am doing with this one. But as I said, Apoidea is my kind of book. If you like Michael Crichton novels, I’ll bet Apoidea is your kind of book too.”
My astonished thanks are due to all these reviewers. Finally: I’m going to be in London on March the 2nd, signing copies of a new Eibonvale anthology called “Where Are We Going?” edited by the great Allen Ashley, in which my short story called “Entanglement” appears. The evening is also a BFS open night, but don’t let that put you off! Come along to The Mug House pub on Tooley Street underneath London Bridge, from 6pm onwards. It should be a lot of fun. Here’s the Where Are We Going cover art by the ever-inventive David Rix…