An Amazing Adventure by Adam Clark

I knew I was in for a number of hard, not to say weird, decisions as soon as I opened this book.  So what shall I give you first?  The good news or the bad?

The good, I think.  This is a wildly over-the-top narrative, a sort of cross between a slightly mad computer game and the exploits of Baron Munchausen.  We have a clue when we see the dedication ‘ To all the rappers, without whom…’ etc.  Among them: Biggie, Jay-Z, T.T.Pac  and Elton John.  (Eh?).   In his author bio, Adam Clark reveals he has a Bachelor’s degree in Space Science and Robotics from Aberystwith University.  He then reveals himself as someone who could well have been a character in his own book.  So on every count, we know before we start that this story will be wild.

And it is.  On the very first page we meet Grigor, the hero, who blunts four razors shaving his beard, is surrounded by brunette girls presumably all in bed and has as his butler a green  dinosaur (a T-Rex to  be precise) called Wooster who doubles as his personal transport.  Having killed a plague of ninja-zombies on the way to work, Grigor finds himself standing in front of his boss, Lord Evegart, head of the Viking bankers.  Grigor’s new task is to cement their rule in a new possession, New Zealand of all places, where he is to install the Heart of the Dragon King as a symbol not merely of good intention but also of power.  But there are more enemies than you’ve had hot dinners to vanquish on the way.  In places, it’s very, very funny, sometimes almost reminiscent of Douglas Adams.

You probably get the picture.   Before you groan, listen to some images.  Lord Evegart has ‘a voice which would make thunder go crying to its mother’.  This stood out of the page for me: I may be wrong but I think it’s a super metaphor.  There are several others like it which makes me think that Adam Clark could go on to – I’m not going to say ‘better things’ yet, but certainly different things.  And now and again there are shafts of real deflating, self-mocking humour.

The adventure continues, with characters like Chainsaw-boy, Napalm and Space-Hitler, who fortunately explodes in space.  There is a lovely parallel world in a different dimension from ours, inhabited by Kim Jong Bro, Barack Brobama, Bobraham Lincoln and Queen Elizabeth ii of the United Bro-dom.  The pace is furious and the action beyond any  reasonable compass.  Computer game addicts will be pleased to see that we have three separate endings as we follow three characters each to his own  fate.  They all get what’s coming to them as they deserve, whether good or bad..  And then the novel concludes with a sentence with which we can all identify and wish for in our dreams.

So in the end, everything was magically fixed and they all lived happily ever after, apart from the bad dudes who all died.

I don’t think that counts as a spoiler.  But it does suggest that, in spite of the robotics-gone-mad nature of the plot, it is in the end a very traditional story.  It’s also another example of the author’s talent for writing with tongue-in-cheek.

Now for the bad news.  I expect that many of you, having read so far, will be muttering ‘rubbish’, ‘trash’.  I see what you mean and I wouldn’t blame you though I wouldn’t share your opinion.  Others will be thinking what chance have we got when our books, written professionally by the deeply serious experienced writers that we are, come in competition with unprofessional amateurism.  Well, you’ll know just how completely I identify with that.

Well, how far is it unprofessional?  As always, the clue lies in the formatting and the editing.  The formatting strays all over the place; chapters have different spaces between them, there’s been no attempt to make each one start on a new page and in Mobi the font changes both in style and size for no apparent reason.  The punctuation and sentence construction are distinctly rocky, although the spelling is mercifully good.  The whole book needs a root-and-branch proofread and copy-edit.  In that sense, it’s what gives unlimited ebook publishing access a bad name.

But let’s go back to the good.  Adam Clark has a vivid imagination – and not an untamed one, because the plot, however fantastical, has a shape to it. He shows he can be a resourceful writer with a good eye for observation and a talent for sharp pithiness.  I detect that a motivation for writing this may have been just to see if he had the stamina to complete a considerable task such as 60,000 consecutive words without wilting.  Well, forty years ago that was my main aim in writing my first novel, so I’m the last person to knock it.

Besides, some kids may look up for a moment from their computer games. read it, love it and be hooked on reading for ever more.  Meanwhile, Adam Clark should think seriously about writing something completely different because my hunch is that he can

Reviewed by Dennis Hamley

The Amazing Adventure is available in Kindle format ( and in various stages on various other platforms – try Smashwords and Authonomy)

Find out more about Adam Clark

 

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