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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Steve Aylett

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To purchase Shamanspace

Title: Shamanspace
Author: Steve Aylett
Genre: Novel
Written: 2001
Length: 125 pages
Availability: Shamanspace - US
Shamanspace - UK
Shamanspace - Canada
  • With illustrations by Steve Aylett

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Our Assessment:

B : brief, wild dystopian ride

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Barcelona Review . 11-12/2001 Jill Adams

  From the Reviews:
  • "The plot can be as slippery as its protagonist, but the hyper-paced, hyper-powered (etheric-powered?) prose pulls you right along even as it leaves you reeling." - Jill Adams, The Barcelona Review

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       In Shamanspace Steve Aylett moves to new worlds, a fuzzy future where reality comes in different sizes and shifting shapes. Here, in this novella, the metaphysical and the physical worlds meet, with a bang.
       Nietzsche was apparently wrong: God is alive. Which brings all sorts of problems with it. Not everybody wants him around, and he has become an assassination target. The question is: what then ? Two factions stand at odds. The Internecine believe "that in destroying god, we'll bring everything to an end." The other side -- Prevail, they call themselves -- "believe the universe will continue after god's destruction."
       So there is -- potentially -- a lot on the line. Alix, the sometime narrator, finds himself in the middle of it, with dire and other consequences for him. A Quinas also figures in the story, as do characters such as Melody and Sig. Good and evil struggle.
       Some unusual abilities -- of quite impressive transmutation, among other things -- also add a surreal touch to this wildly imagined and told tale.
       As usual, most of the fun is in Aylett's fanciful and felicitous turns of phrase. From "a room tumoured with statuary and patched with a lot of detail" to the books in the "worming walls of the Keep" to the trippy images throughout Aylett stretches language to bursting. Ideas explode, along with language, in the dense but carefree narrative. And it is all in good serious fun.

       Shamanspace is a short novella, veering in all directions. Addressing big questions (and small ones), it is a concentrated, action-packed roller-coaster ride of a read, often both bewildering and exhilarating.
       Aylett isn't satisfied with what is usually done with fiction, and he again shows what else might be done with it. It doesn't always work, but it's a pretty neat attempt

       Note also the useful Shamanspace site, which gives at least some idea of what Aylett is up to. (When last checked, however, the site had disappeared ... into shamanspace ?)

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Shamanspace: Reviews: Steve Aylett: Other books by Steve Aylett under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       British author Steve Aylett was born in 1967. He has written several novels.

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© 2001-2010 the complete review

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