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Adam Roberts is the author of a growing number of science fiction novels, short stories, essays and other writings. This site contains not just his blog, but everything you could ever want to know about everything Adam has ever published. And more...

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Saturday Telegraph Headless review

By Adam Roberts | July 4, 2007
Categories: Book News

Short enough to be quoted in full, Andrew McKie's Telegraph review of Land of the Headless from Saturday 30th June (also, by pleasant synchronicity, my birthday):

Land of the Headless is billed as ‘a simple story’. This might not be your first thought as you read the tale of a man who is beheaded for adultery in a world governed by an extreme interpretation of Islamic law – though Roberts synthesises it with a fundamentalist Christianity heavy on old Testament values – but then continues to live , thanks to prosthetic senses and an ordinator fixed to his spine. John Cavala, the beheaded poet, finds himself in the army. His real journey though, is into the morality of the society that has punished him. Roberts provides more sympathetic voices and plausible arguments than might be expected from his satirical theme. How innocent, we begin to wonder, is Cavala? All adultery is rape in this world, but what of his crime? He uses words to defend, deceive, justify and condemn himself; so does literalist religion. This is a subtle parable, in a grave, perfectly appropriate voice.

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4 Comments to-date;

4 Responses to “Saturday Telegraph Headless review”

  1. Octavo Says:
    July 4th, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Hi Adam. Can't believe it's taken me this long to find your blog, and as one of your former students it feels particularly strange not to be calling you "Dr Roberts" any more. I have to say that this looks particularly interesting and that I'll make sure to pick up a copy. I've only read "Stone" and "The Snow" so far, so it looks like I've got a bit of catching up to do...

  2. AdamR Says:
    July 4th, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Well hello! I'm scratching my head trying to recall former students called Octavo ...

  3. Octavo Says:
    July 4th, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Just a handy internet moniker I go by from time to time, but if you can see my email address (not sure if you can), you can see my full name as well as an indication as to where I've ended up. I'm sure I'm not the first former student to drop by and say hello, but I just wanted to say keep up the great work and thanks for the brilliant stories so far. I thoroughly enjoyed your class on Science Fiction and remember chatting about the Japanese influences to Star Wars, among other things.

    Funny story - I first picked up a copy of "Stone" ages ago from Books Etc in Staines and brought it to the till without once looking at the name on the jacket. The girl behind the counter was quite friendly and chatty and when she saw it was one of yours, she casually mentioned that she'd been a student of yours. That's when I finally twigged that you were *that* Adam Roberts and that I could now boast that I knew an actual published author.

    Anyway, I hope "Land of the Headless" does well and I eagerly await the release of "Splinter". The cover looks gorgeous and I'm always a sucker for a beautiful book.

  4. AdamR Says:
    July 4th, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Ah, I see who you are! That may sound a little more sinister than I intend (not as sinister as 'we know where you live', but you see what I mean.) And 'where you've ended up' is a fine organisation, upon which authors such as myself depend. Hope you're liking it.