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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2007
A conspiracy theory is revealed where the entire population of London are really pawns in an intricate game between godlike players; The Indian Mutiny is re-enacted in a classroom triggering the mental breakdown of a teacher; everyone in London is a frustrated would-be novelist; a philosopher explores the nature of sexual freedom; a man loses his sense of scale as he becomes hopelessly entwined with the concept of the motorway; in a dystopian near-future England the fog-bound poor cough themselves to death while the rich look on; time is frozen in the mundane repetition of office life for a secretary; a new bee-mite derived anti-depressant drug trial goes horribly wrong; and the culture of expressing emotional problems leads to the mass break-up of relationships.

As with the vast majority of anthologies, this batch of nine short stories from Will Self is slightly variable in quality, but all the tales are peppered with the authors startling and often hilarious use of language, and when the concepts match the prose the results are startling. A couple of pieces (including oddly enough the title story) are a little too aimless for my tastes, but the dizzying trilogy of 'Scale', 'Chest' and 'Inclusion' are stunning enough to warrant the price alone.

A little bitty, but more often brilliant than not.
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on 22 May 2003
This is the perfect book to dip into just before bedtime. A collection of about 10 stories, each putting a unique twist on modern life. Grey Area, a chilling expose of the office grind, and Inclusion®, all about a mysterious drug trial, are my favourites- both willfully subversive and un-put-downable.
Altogether a very different and intriguing collection of stories that will keep you hooked the very end!
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on 17 October 2001
This collection of short stories was so brilliant, it took my breath away. I agree with the last reviewer that Self's stories are better than his novels. And I think of all his short story collections, this is the best. It is dazzling but also Self at his most accessible and readable.
It's quite difficult to describe the stories. They are so original and unusual and inventive, you wonder where the hell Self got his inspiration (or perhaps that is a naive question!). You must buy this book now, it's brilliant!
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on 10 January 2011
Whilst I am a fan of Will Self's work, I simply found this set of 10 short stories frustrating.

There is no denying the fact that Self has a talent at coming up with some great story lines and some of the plots here are fantastic, the problem is they don't go anywhere further than that.

It seems, on each occasion, Self had a brain wave for a plot but was simply unable to create a decent story line from it.
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on 19 April 2013
I first heard of Will Self on Radio 4's podcasts and decided to try one of his books. He has a different way of looking at life and I enjoyed his style of writing, although I have to admit to occasionally needing a dictionary. A great read and a good introduction to his style of writing.
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on 17 September 1999
wow - i love this book - i always feel that Self is at his best in the short story genre (his novels tend to be overlong and waffly) - put simply, if you are thinking about buying any Will Self book, this is THE ONE - absolutely masterful.
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on 23 December 2014
Never read Will Self before. This book is so different from my usual reading matter...I purchased it as an experiment, I like to throw myself the odd curve ball challenge now and again... The experiment worked for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the shorts and found his writing refreshing. I will be reading more of his work.
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on 7 February 2016
Always a stimulating read
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on 1 October 2011
If you like Will Self stuff, you will like this a lot. It is funny, slighly disturbing, but a great read.
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