"Doodling" is a fun little novella by Jonathan Gould that has been influenced by the works of Douglas Adams and Lewis Carroll. It is a madcap, surreal adventure full of nonsense and rather insane characters that had me smiling multiple times. However, Gould also manages to make some deep reflections on our society in amongst this comedy which helped give the novella a sense of purpose.
The story itself follows Neville Lansdowne who one day discovers that he can’t keep up with the fast pace of the world and is flung into space. Luckily he lands in an asteroid belt where he begins to create his own world completely designed based on his ideas and dreams. Of course, he soon discovers that a life alone like this just wasn't for him and journeys to other asteroids where he meets many other travellers, with many of them being completely and utterly barking mad.
As mentioned earlier, there are a fair few wacky moments that should provide giggles and smiles aplenty alongside a sense of purpose that helps to drive the narrative along. Gould does a good job in making sure the story doesn't get lost in surreal mayhem and balances the need for contemplation and humour well.
An issue I did have with the novella though was the characters as whilst they were initially quite amusing and varied they could be a little bit cartoon like. Within two of three pages of a character being introduced I found that they got a little bit boring as there was no real depth to their strange behaviours and choices. As for Neville himself, whilst he does have a little bit of development as the story progresses I found that I didn't really know much about him so found it hard to empathise or relate to him fully.
Overall, this is an amusing novella full of imagination and fun that should keep most people entertained on some level. I actually think that it is the type of story that could be read to children who may really enjoy the short length, basic silly characters and the downright crazy almost illogical adventure.
(reviewed 13 months after purchase)