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Smashwords book reviews by uaem
- Linehan's Trip
on Nov. 21, 2012
A good, short read. It makes me want to know more about Linehan (will he really change?) and more about "Padania".
I warmly recommend it to lovers of Italy and speculative fiction.
- Goodbye, Padania
on Nov. 25, 2012
I have to say that the main character in Goodbye, Padania, Daria Rigoletti, is an engaging character. I don't think she means to be – she just carries on quietly and anonymously with killing people, but we naturally want to know how a woman came to fill such a role, and we are drawn to her when human feeling starts to fill her empty heart and she tries to find something less ruthless to do to make a living. As the quality of mercy flows back into her, we can feel empathy for her, and sympathy with her attempts to stop trading in violence in a world in which it is a major currency.
The world in question is a hypothetical future independent state called Padania, in present-day north Italy. Upon independence, it seems to have engaged in an orgy of racist violence, which has made it a pariah state. Without immigrant labour, the economy has collapsed, and the regime has become more and more totalitarian, with a militia of murderous thugs, an electrified wall to keep people in, and a forced diet of TV soaps and beauty contests to keep them sedated, until an old spirit of resistance re-awakens.
I have a feeling that the author is more interested in the political story than the personal one, but it is the evolving personality of Daria that fascinated me.
Defects are that is a bit disjointed, and that the minor characters are not developed. Perhaps the author will return to Padania and do just that. I think he has found a rich vein to mine here.
- Murder By Suicide
on July 17, 2013
The author gives us an insight into what can happen when states assume they have the power of life or death over their citizens - and other people's. We know that hit squads can act with impunity in places like Iran, Italy and Greece, but something so awful couldn't really happen in England. Could it? The anti-hero, Franco Tira, is a laconic, sardonic old bastard. I hope he will survive long enough in that hospice to tell us more of his nasty but fascinating misadventures.
- Linehan Saves
on July 18, 2013
In this sequel to “Linehan’s Trip”, author Murphy portrays his main man as trying to become good after a lifetime of corruption. Linehan tries, but his job, as a troubleshooter for a world sports body, the setting, a near-future China, and even his very own girlfriend back home, do not make it easy for him, constantly strewing temptation in his way and threatening to stymie his mission to save a group of footballers from a firing squad. After “Linehan’s Trip”, I’m glad to see Murphy finding a lighter touch, and bringing out the comic side of his creation, too.
on July 23, 2013
"Breakaway" is a good, short taster for Murphy's other "dark future" writings. You don't need to know about Italian politics to understand that a state based on racism and xenophobia is going to be a disaster. Murphy's hypothetical "Padania", a breakaway state located in today's northern Italy, is precisely that. As it descends into deadly chaos, the narrator, a foreigner caught up in the maelstrom, accepts help from the Calabrian mafia to get the children of his best friends out and away to safety. Fortunately, the racists are on the decline in Italy at the moment, but they are on the rise in Greece and Eastern Europe, so a situation like the one shown here could be coming to a country near you.
on July 23, 2013
In a world in which food choices are the new religion, Murphy shows that tradition and innovation still pit individuals and groups against each other to deadly effect. The main character, Dougal, is a true believer who overcomes his doubts to defend orthodoxy, with the help of technologically enhanced direct democracy. Fortunately, Murphy has a light touch, and this story offers entertainment as well as, er, food for thought.