Literature®by Guillermo Stitch Published 01 Jul 2018
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We don't know exactly when Literature® takes place and we don't know exactly where. All we know is that Philip Marlowe would fit right in.
We don't get Marlowe though. We get Billy Stringer. And Billy is on nobody's trail.
He's the prey.
The day hasn't begun very well for Billy. He just messed up his first big assignment, he's definitely going to be late for work, his girlfriend won't get back to him and, for reasons she has something to do with, he's dressed like a clown.
Also, he's pretty sure someone is going to kill him today. But then, that's an occupational hazard, when you're a terrorist.
He's a bookworm too, which wouldn't be a problem–or particularly interesting–except that in Billy's world, fiction is banned. Reading it is what makes him an outlaw.
Why? Because people need to get to work.
It's fight or flight time for Billy and he's made his choice. But he has to see Jane, even if it's for the last time–to explain it all to her, before she finds out what he has become. That means staying alive for a little while.
And the odds are against him.
"Literature® speaks to the industrialisation of art, and also to the link between alienation and radicalisation in consumerist societies. Mainly though, it speaks to our need for great stories, by providing one. The conceptual is never allowed to overpower the human. This is a love story. There is heart here, and heartache. And, crucially, a chase scene."
This was a weird and trippy, quick little sci fi novella and I enjoyed it more than I anticipated. We aren't quite sure where the book is set, but it takes place in a time where literature no longer exists.
The author has created a futuristic, dystopian world which is full of new tech, literature has been stripped from people and everything you do read and all media is completely controlled. I probably would have given this 4 stars if I hadn't felt lost in the plot so many times whilst reading it, but having said that it was overall a fun, interesting and enjoyable read! I really like the simple black and white cover of the book as well; I'm excited to see what else the author has in store!
I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This review first appeared at Underground Book Reviews:
Have you ever tried to quit smoking? Gone on a fad diet and cut out sugar or soda? Unsuccessfully tried to put away the leftover Halloween candy without having one more piece? Billy Stringer is a former jock and current sports reporter whose girlfriend’s brother starts him on a dangerous habit and soon he lives his life for the next fix. As he puts it, reading has opened up new worlds for him, and they are all more real than the one he inhabits.
The problem is, literature is illegal. You won’t get your hand slapped or have to pay a fine if you get caught. Those who are ‘Lit’ are being detained and executed.
In this future society “literature” has been reduced to something practical, something used in transit. The idea of literature as something that is used to transport people from place to place is symbolic and compelling in its own right, but the story doesn’t get weighed down by extensive exploration of the tech, although we start with our protagonist touring Gripping Tails, who are about to launch a new transit line.
When Billy is discovered to be ‘Lit’ his life is turned upside down. He finds himself fearing for the safety of his girlfriend and family. With counter terrorism prying into his life and a thug on his heels he tries to salvage his contribution to true literature and ensure the safety of those he loves.
This is a dystopian thriller about the power of words and the worlds they can create. While a company has found a way to reduce formulaic text into a power source, the laws have evolved to ensure that anyone who harbors old literature or creates new material is put down. Non-conformity is a risk, and asking questions may cost you your life, as Billy Stringer learns. The story moves at a blistering pace and provides many surprising twists along the way, as well as some delicious prose of its own. Captivating and timely, with a perfect bittersweet ending.
Further note: This work stayed with me long after I finished the last page. It spoke to me as an author and as a reader. I processed further thoughts on Toe Six Press and interviewed the author there some time after I finished the book because I was still thinking about it. May just be my top read of 2018.
A single day - and a bad one, at that- in the life of Billy Stringer. In a worldscape where fiction is banned and words have taken on a new power, Billy has become a hunted man. Is this a thriller? A love story? Yes to both of those, and more besides.
Literature® is a compelling adventure in a noir environment that evokes those of writers ranging from Philip K. Dick to Grant Naylor. I devoured it in one delightful sitting.
Chapeau, Mr Stitch.
I received a free copy in return for an honest review.
Literature is a unique read that whisks you away to a dystopia where fiction is no more!
The writing style and plot line of this book work so well together. I had never imagined a plot like this, and I loved it's creativity! Guillermo came up with such an interesting idea and it's not to be missed! This book can be seen as a drama or comedy in my opinion, or a lovely brand of satire.
Billy's life felt like it could have been a short black and white or noir film that we'd see at Cannes or a big festival. I would love to see more in this universe, because the critique of art was so cool! I couldn't see the ending coming, which was also a nice change.
I highly recommend this read! It makes fun of today's art yet feels like something that could happen. The word choice by Guillermo also paints this story's beautiful picture inside of your head - I felt like I was in the story. This commentary on today's society is a must read from me!
Four out of five stars!
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Literature is a sci-fi novella. Billy Stinger is a terrorist that is always strapped for time and has some explaining to do with his life choices. The odds are definitely against him in this thrilling fictional story.
The story is just one day and begins with him showing up later for work, he has not dressed appropriately, and his girlfriend is not happy with him. Billy’s character is interesting in the matter of being so particular. He isn’t necessarily the hero nor is he the anti-hero. The mixture made a difference to this short story.
Since the story was short, I initially had my doubts if it was going to cover all the delicate elements of which a sci-fi story would need. The author eliminated this by jumping right in and letting the reader know everything right from the start.
The story is set in the future. However, it is not as scientifically advanced you would think a sci-fi story would be. Instead, the author appeared to take the more comical side of things and added a few odd social norm behaviors so the mix.
The literature was particularly strong, and it kept its standard up to the end. I would be very interested to read a longer tale from this author and recommend this book as a short read.
"The road is the page."Poor Billy Stringer is having a pretty rotten time. His girlfriend broke up with him, he's stuck living with his recluse mother, his only outfit is from his prom, and he botched his first big assignment as a journalist. Oh, and it appears that someone wants to kill him.
I was excited when the author contacted me to ask if I would like to review his book because the synopsis sounded so interesting. A dystopian future where reading is banned? Yes please. Unfortunately while this novella is brimming with promise and a creative premise, I found the story lacking in execution. The novella had a strong start but I soon became lost in a lot of world jargon and I honestly have no idea what really was going on. [spoilers removed] And why do text messages look like this in this reality: "bili u cant do dis! I dint evn liv der enimor!"
I didn't understand why fiction became banned in the first place - although reading the synopsis now leads me to believe it is because people need to get to work? okay... - and without that knowledge I found it difficult to care for the backstory as it unfolded and everything tied together. I really did appreciate the appreciation for reading in a world where reading is banned and physical books had essentially been eradicated, as well as lines like "He's lit. Too much Dickens and Dostoevsky and all that other trash."
Looking at the other reviews I seem to be in the minority here, so just because this book wasn't for me doesn't mean that you won't enjoy it. It is a fast-paced read that can easily be devoured in one sitting, and those that enjoy noir-style books and dystopian flair will likely get a kick out of this one.
Many thanks to the author for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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