Length: 364 pages
Published: September 23rd 2014
The capital-A Automatons of Greco-Roman myth aren’t clockwork. Their design is much more divine. They’re more intricate than robots or androids or anything else mortal humans could invent. Their windup keys are their human Masters. They aren’t mindless; they have infinite storage space. And, because they have more than one form, they’re more versatile and portable than, say, your cell phone—and much more useful too. The only thing these god-forged beings share in common with those lowercase-A automatons is their pre-programmed existence. They have a function—a function their creator put into place—a function that was questionable from the start…
Odys (no, not short for Odysseus, thank you) finds his hermetic lifestyle falling apart after a stranger commits suicide to free his soul-attached Automaton slave. The humanoid Automaton uses Odys’s soul to “reactivate” herself. Odys must learn to accept that the female Automaton is an extension of his body—that they are the same person—and that her creator-god is forging a new purpose for all with Automatons…
The novel calls itself a “Prose Epic,” but is otherwise a purposeful implosion of literary clichés and gimmicks: A Narrator and an Editor (named Gabbler) frame the novel. Gabbler’s pompous commentary (as footnotes) on the nameless Narrator’s story grounds the novel in reality. Gabbler is a stereotypical academic who likes the story only for its so-called “literary” qualities, but otherwise contradicts the Narrator’s claim that the story is true.
THE AUTOMATION is a this-world fantasy that reboots mythical characters and alchemical concepts. Its ideal place would be on the same bookshelf as Wilson’s ALIF THE UNSEEN and Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS—though it wouldn’t mind bookending Homer, Virgil, and Milton, to be specific.
So….This one took me awhile to get through. The journey was definitely a very new one, that I’m not sure I wish to take again.
Chapter one amazed me. I became stuck in this trance-like state of wanting to explore more, but not fully comprehending what it was that I had read. And the more I read, the more I wanted out, but I still needed my answers to the questions which all developed in chapter one within the first 10 pages or so.
What started off as a completely new, different, unique writing style of narrator and editor seemingly fighting for the spotlight quickly became a nuisance and the worst possible distractions. As I found the editor’s footnotes to be more entertaining than the narrator’s portions. I was thrown off when I became part of the writing. That’s right, I became part of the write and so will you if you read the book. The reader is addressed many times throughout the piece, which I think is what had kept me going, honestly.
So as I’ve addressed the quirky stylization of this novel, let’s get into the actual story. What started off as captivating as bacon sizzling easily fizzled out to bacon being burnt. It just died out and there was no resurrecting it.
The characters all came off as bland one-note type, each a different note but not of the same song. Nothing seemed to fit in place. Throughout reading it, I just kept waiting for something, anything really to get me back to where I started. Halfway through the book, I hadn’t remembered what the original mission of the book. The web just kept expanding and it never caught any prey. I will say this the last ten or so pages well they win me over enough to move this up from one star to two stars. Would I pick up the second book when it’s released, eh, probably not. Will I read this again, I haven’t decided ( I’m hoping that this has been just a book funk rating ).