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Sunshine State Paperback – 7 Jul 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349122253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349122250
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.7 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 685,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr James Miller, Time Out's 'London's Rising Star 2008' was born in London, 1976. He read English at Oxford and has a PhD from King's in American Literature. He has published a number of academic articles about African-American literature, Civil Rights and the 1960s counter-culture. He lectured in American literature at King's College London and currently teaches creative writing at London South Bank University.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hamie on 2 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
Top. It's a film, but who would dare take on such a politically potent text? A highly ambitious novel blending massive political concepts, genres and hugely significant classics. It's both a parady and a logical evolution of heart of darkness-apocalypse now inhabiting them elegantly whilst using them to expound our present global reality. Let's take heed of Miller's warnings. Not so much distopia as near future reality. Miller's depictions are exquisite driving the reader forward with terrifying intensity. Despite 'the horror', there is effortless expression of natural beauty creating a chilling pathetic fallacy reminiscent of Hardy.

In short, this is a triumph of craft, content and form. This, in a second novel, beggars belief and makes me suspect a nom de plume.

I can't wait for the next one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tomekd on 25 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sunshine State is an extremely well written and cleverly crafted book. James Miller succeeds where many others have struggled in similar experiments of labour and love, and he has successfully re-imagined Hearts of Darkness with great care and skill. It is a marvellous piece of fiction which fully captures the raw power and scope of the Conrad's work and does so in a time and place not too distant from our present days. Simply put, it is brilliant, perhaps even more so due to the courage the author displayed in taking on such a difficult task.

From devastated towns and ruined lives to God and love and hate and nature's wrath and ju-ju kings and Kalat's Kingdom and its parallel, the themes contained within this book force us to consider and question how we live and struggle to survive. Passages of immense profoundness intertwined with action sequences and beautiful imagery make this a very compelling piece of work. It starts of a little slow but this only helps to emphasise the increasing sense of terror as the novel progresses to its climax. As a reviewer noted, the flashbacks are indeed interspersed with the present story, but I feel this works well when it all falls into place towards the end.

Definitely worth a read and I highly recommend this book, particularly if you are a fan of Hearts of Darkness and Apocalypse Now. Sunshine State merely adds to their legacy. Read it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chelsea Spy on 31 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
James Miller's debut, LOST BOYS, was an audacious thriller that fused Peter Pan with the War in Iraq to produce a chilling parable for our times. With SUNSHINE STATE he goes even further! Miller imagines a disturbing future of global warming and religious extremism. Laying waste to Florida with a series of apocalyptic hurricanes allows Miller to create `the storm zone' a lawless part of the `sunshine state' that lies outside control of a repressive, theocratic American government.

Add to this a British secret agent - Mark Burrows - sent to make contact with his old friend, now rogue agent - Charlie Ashe. The trouble for Burrows is that Ashe has reinvented himself as Kalat - a messianic, anarchic leader who seems to combine Kurtz in Conrad's `Heart of Darkness' with the politics of Sub-Comandante Marcos. The result is a thrilling, genre bending novel that will certainly appeal to fans of JG Ballard or Iain Banks. SUNSHINE STATE is a top notch second novel that confirms Miller as a serious talent.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sudworth VINE VOICE on 21 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
The scenario of a UK operative tracking down an ex-colleague who has gone messeanic is good (Heart of Darkness, Apocolypse Now anybody ?) and the picture of America affected by climate change and god fearing people (Tea Party, charismatic preachers) is well done
What I found distracting is the flash backs to his past interspersed with the current story as he journeys across America and the attempt to get this to explain his reluctance to carry out the mission.
The premise of a Western guy who go native has been well travelled before and its kinda obvious that the authorities might not like the 'love and peace' message being broadcast
In short the imagining of a USA traumatised by floods and general devastation was very well done - the story around that less so - having said that probably make a good film
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Askew on 29 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
Essentially a spy thriller, the book imagines a post-climate-change world, vastly changed by the melting of polar ice and spiraling further and further from order and morality and ever closer to a world culture of fundamentalism and eugenics. Miller's southern USA is a kind of Christian fundamentalist police state, with Florida set up as a naturally and morally barren buffer-zone in which atheists, homosexuals and non-Christians seek refuge. Miller's protagonist, unfeasibly young and fit Iraq veteran Mark Burrows, is sent into this cultural melting pot to seek out and contain a former fellow soldier who has become a the ringleader of a dangerous radical fundamentalist organisation. Needless to say, the novel begins from an overblown premise -- Miller is rather arrogantly attempting to at once re-write Heart of Darkness AND a satirize the contemporary US socio-political landscape -- and goes steadily downhill from there, managing to deliver characters and plot-twists which are at once ridiculously far-fetched but also depressingly predictable. The scenery in this never-defined future world feels wrong -- social groups, the landscape and the climate are almost unrecognizable, yet the Iraq war feels like a recent event and technology (laptops, mobile phones, cars, weapons, planes) seems to have remained at a standstill. Mark Burrows is a cardboard cutout and yet also the most real of all the characters Miller depicts -- and his methods of depiction are at their worst utterly cringeworthy. Mary, the young hitchhiker Burrows picks up as he journeys to Florida, speaks in a phonetically-spelled Southern-US accent that after a while, hurts to read. All in all the book feels resoundingly hollow, and suspiciously knocked-together-for-cinema-adaptation
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