By Adam Roberts | July 10, 2007
Categories: Book News
Nick Gevers, LOCUS:
The SF novels of Adam Roberts invariably centre on jaw-dropping concepts extrapolated to wonderful, and satirical extremes. There is no doubting the cumulative power of his work, its aspiring strangeness and neatly calculated absurdist brio. Consider the premise of Robertsís latest book Land of the Headless†. . . a brilliant burlesque conceit, and Roberts exploits it in bravura fashion, reflecting soberly on economic marginalization and segregation even as he segues into elaborate farce in the manner of Robert Sheckley. That the literary touchstone of the novel is Marcel Proust adds a further strain of inspired oddness ... [The Hero Cavala] is a Proustian narrator, profoundly reflective and egregiously memorious; and thus Roberts achieves his remarkable juxtaposition of fraught inner turmoil and zany outward satire, escaping the usual superficiality of satirical characterization with admirable dexterity. Psychological depth in a picaresque protagonist: most unusual and very welcome. Itís a crazy scheme but it works; in line with Proustian concerns of memory, Cavala remembers not only himself but much of the central matter of the Ď50s satirical SF of Sheckley, Bester, Pohl and Kornbluth, and that revival is aesthetically very pleasing.