What is it?
A Science Fiction story set in the far future, with a hint of mystery.
Rating: 5 out 5 - Excellent
A Charming Nightmare is a true science fiction story – there are concepts and ideas in the book that could not exist or be conceived on in any other genre. I’m not going to tell you what they are because, you know, spoilers.
The story is set 40,000 years in the future, the Earth is gone and humans are a bit different to how we know them. So given the time and distance involved, how is a simple human like me going to make sense of this brave new world?
Meet Aylin Morgan, your protagonist and guide for ACN. Aylin is very much a 21st Century human. Not only does she have quite an intense adventure, she takes time to guide us through the world of Elpis.
The opening chapters initially seem a little confusing and intense, you really get a sense of Aylin struggling to make sense of the world and her companion. He is an Anlox called Catch and if you want to know what an Anlox is, read the book!
As the story moves on Aylin shines as a protagonist and a storyteller, the latter point really shows as she breaks out of the text and addresses the reader directly; she will often share her thoughts and opinions with us folks on the other side of the page. The story is told in kind of conversational style, almost as if you were sitting over a coffee with Aylin while she tells you of her adventures. At other times the story is told a little more by the author and it’s a testament to MKF’s skill as writer that these two styles blend together so well. I really enjoyed the conversational style, especially when Aylin gives me permission to imagine a scene however I want to!
So how can a world 40,000 years in the future be so accessible? One reason is MKF’s ability to describe the world in ways that make it real, complete and very rounded. The other is Aylin herself. Aylin speaks our language, has our priorities in life and relates these to the world around her either to draw comparison or contrast. She also uses many (and by many I mean lot) of pop culture references; everything from movies, music and memes. McGyver, Douglas Adams, Dr Who and even Ferris Bueller (SAVE FERRIS!) all receive a nod. I really appreciated this aspect of ACN, it’s kind of self aware and very relatable.
I really enjoyed this book, it can be challenging (in the right ways) but is also rewarding. Due to time constraints I had to read in multiple sessions but would really recommend blocking of some time as once you start Aylin draws you in