Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought-provoking
I'm not much of a SF reader. I've always maintained I didn't do SF, until I started reading my husband's Kris Longknife books and loved them. Since then I've been trying to expand my reading and try more SF. After reading Mark's reviews of Eric Brown's books over at Walker of Worlds, I really wanted to try his books and having read Cara's review of Kéthani over at...
Published on 30 Dec 2010 by W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas... dull characters
All the characters in this book are a bit boring, especially the men. Here's most of them, as described.

Lincoln: he was a big quiet reserved man
Jeff Morrow: a small, thoughtful man... a quiet man, much given to introspection and silences
Doug Standish: was a shy, sensitive man
Andy Souter: he was a shy, hesitant man

Khalid Azzam and...
Published on 20 Dec 2009 by R. Tait


Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought-provoking, 30 Dec 2010
This review is from: Kethani (Paperback)
I'm not much of a SF reader. I've always maintained I didn't do SF, until I started reading my husband's Kris Longknife books and loved them. Since then I've been trying to expand my reading and try more SF. After reading Mark's reviews of Eric Brown's books over at Walker of Worlds, I really wanted to try his books and having read Cara's review of Kéthani over at Speculative Book Review, that seemed a good place to start. And if Kéthani is anything to go by, I think I need to read more of Brown's books. It was such an interesting read, that I kept turning pages, despite saying I'd put the book away at the end of the chapter. I was hooked.

Kéthani is a collection and reworking of several interconnected short stories. Only the prologue, interludes, epilogue and one story were specifically written for this book. Yet despite this, the narrative never felt cobbled together, it was cohesive and if it hadn't been mentioned, I wouldn't have guessed. The book doesn't feel very SF-y, since it is more a psychological study of man's reaction to the choice of immortality. The SF seems incidental to this. Something else that contributes to this is that the book feels cosy, for lack of a better word. It's all set in this little village in the English countryside and since many of the stories are set in winter, with snow, cold and roaring hearth fires, this feeling of small-scale cosiness is only reinforced.

Brown provides no direct explanations, no info dumps, we find things out through the narrative. And while each chapter answers some questions, it always raises more. The alien technology is kept deliberately vague and Earth seems to remain relatively low-tech; apart from the implants and the Onward stations, there doesn't seem to be any real alien technology on Earth. In the end most of my practical questions were answered. For example, I kept wondering how Earth hadn't exploded population-wise and whether they were truly immortal. At the end I knew, the answers were there in the stories.

The moral questions raised by Kéthani remain largely unanswered however. We are told how the characters in the book handle them, but this is largely conveyed without any judgement attached. It is left to the reader to form an opinion about the right or wrong of their actions and whether the coming of the Kéthani is ultimately a good thing for humanity. This is what made the book so compelling and thought-provoking. I found my thoughts going back to mull over some of the characters dilemmas and choices even after I'd finished Kéthani. That is the quiet power of this book; at it's core it isn't about aliens, it's about humanity.

Apart from its thought-provoking themes, Kéthani also contains some cracking stories. From a locked-room mystery to a quiet romance, to the heart-rending story of a father and his mortally-ill daughter, they all have something to keep the reader's attention. I absolutely adored this book and I'll be sure to pick up more of Eric Brown's books when I can. I highly recommend this book, even if you're normally not much of an SF reader, the story is a great introduction to SF and to the work of Eric Brown and definitely worth the read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas... dull characters, 20 Dec 2009
By 
R. Tait (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kethani (Paperback)
All the characters in this book are a bit boring, especially the men. Here's most of them, as described.

Lincoln: he was a big quiet reserved man
Jeff Morrow: a small, thoughtful man... a quiet man, much given to introspection and silences
Doug Standish: was a shy, sensitive man
Andy Souter: he was a shy, hesitant man

Khalid Azzam and Dan Chester are wimpy too. Perhaps these characters are purposely written this way to best describe the last remaining stalwarts of a depopulated Earth. For them, drinking together at a pub is the weekly highlight, while others have left them far behind, exploring the galaxies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars alien shmalien, 14 Jun 2009
By 
L. johnson "l.l.j." (cornwall) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kethani (Paperback)
bought this book because i thought it would be about aliens. not really so. its more about people on earth and how they react to living forever. never the less i thought it was worth reading,as i thought about it weeks after i finished, which is always a good sign for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars The beer facts about good aliens?, 15 Dec 2013
By 
M. J. Powell "o/i mndspc" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kethani (Paperback)
I was unable to get more than half-way through this novel. Sentences like "Standish took another long pull of the thick creamy ale from his sixth pint" "So and so took yet further mouthfuls {?} of his first pint of the evening" "Good idea; I'll join you for a pint or three" wink wink - began to grate. Every adult character seemed drunk and in a divorce. The beery wallowing seemed to be the author's principal image of 'real life'. So when I got to the Standish murder mystery chapter on top of this so utterly generic as to destroy any further prospect or hope that it would get better, I really couldn't get the stuff, the endless mouthfuls and the long pulls of creamy ale, the hangovers and the drivings of various cars miraculously incident-free over icy roads afterwards and so forth out of my head. It is supposed to be a mark of enjoyment, having an occasional drink so why wasn't it enjoyable in this book? And why is it irritating in his other books, which however I much prefer to this one? Eric Brown is a good author, I like his Weird Space novels, and look forward to more of them, but his weakness for swigging lager at every available opportunity, but without any noticeable consequences, is for me the fictional equivalent of watching paint dry: a routine brought into the wrong context for a misguided purpose. It is both too predictable and too generic. The descriptions of *processes* that generic novels contain - as in the descriptions of the events of a plot - give the reader access to a generic but often satisfying thriller or sf novel; however what needs to be remembered is that the author cannot or must not describe a moment in these terms. *The* moment. Incidentally where are the women's drinks? where is it in Kethani that "She took a sip from her martini" ? - Nothing of the sensation of drinking is to be described generically. The imparting of *the* sensation of beer drinking has been left out. To compare small things with great, think of how drinking is described in Hemingway. Or if you read the opening page of Salinger's A Perfect Day for Bananafish where the female character smokes. In that opening page, and then for the rest of the story, Salinger gives you every moment of her behaviour; her hand gestures; the lifting and putting down of the ashtray, almost every exhalation: You experience it as a moment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Kehtani, 27 April 2010
By 
Tristan Joel East (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kethani (Paperback)
I thought that this book had a good concept which, often lacks from most Alien invasion stories; something rarely explored is the benignity of Aliens.
I did find this an interesting read, however, I was left a little disappointed in the fact that all humanity could learn from eternal life lay in educating beings on other planets less technologically advanced than humans which, to me sounds redundant.
The interest that belies in humanity 'reaching' for the stars is in finding other species with technologies similar or better to our own, otherwise what would be the point? We can gawke at our own histories in museums.
The subtext of the book is that humanity learned not to be fearful of death because of the eternal life provided by the aliens. I think that Eric Brown just got a bit lazy towards the end of the book - that the party of friends merely commits suicide to give into their curiosity for a journey to planets with similar species though not as technologically advanced as us, just a little dull.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Meditation on Death and Immortality, 30 July 2009
This review is from: Kethani (Paperback)
My first three impressions in reading "Kéthani" were: (1) this is a collection of short stories, written in the style of Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles"; (2) this is a pleasant, mellow read; and (3) these characters drink a lot.

Upon finishing the book my impression had not changed much, except I realized that for all of the book's genuine "gemutlichkeit," it was a serious meditation on mortality, religion, and ethics. I further realized that the Kéthani for all their apparent benevolence and understated drive, supported by an unspoken belief in manifest destiny, were sinister.

The sinister nature of the mysterious aliens and the underlying sense of danger only surface one or two times in the novel and are quickly ignored or brushed away through the characters' rationalizations. And yet, upon completion of the novel, the feeling remains that the humans have been tricked or duped in some way. In fact, our protagonist, Khalid, says in the final chapter that "I wondered whether to tell Sam and Stuart that we had been lured to the stars by an. . .an impostor." Further, in the epilogue, Khalid says cryptically that "the reason our benefactors selected us for the task was a little more complex than than we first thought." This is the extent of our illumination. At he end of the novel we know no more about the aliens than we did at the beginning. But this of course is the point because ultimately the book is a meditation on religion and life.

As Tolkien pointed out in his short story "A Leaf by Niggle," we are on a journey to death. In "Kéthani," however, the aliens interrupt that journey and substitute a possibility for immortality. Humans with their complex and innate capacity for religion are disturbed by this interruption and thereby have to re-boot. Some incorporate the Kéthani into their religious framework; others de-construct or react violently. The Kéthani could be angels or devils or simply higher sentient beings. We don't know and Brown does not provide an answer.

I recommend the novel but I do have a few reservations. First, the book feels like a collection of short stories. As a result there is a lot of repetition. This repetition arises from the fact that the author has to apprise new readers at the beginning of each story where we are each time he starts a new "story." Second, the author does not give you any answers to your questions for the simple reason that the protagonist does not have any answers. And since the work is a first-person narrative, we only know what the protagonist knows.

All in all, the novel was a pleasant experience; a welcome respite from the hardware of science fiction, with its incipient violence. In some ways the work is a throwback to the science fiction of the fifties and sixties, when science fiction was a place of ideas and we could easily compare the novel with Clarke's "Childhood's End," Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles," or the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Different perspectives, 2 Jun 2009
This review is from: Kethani (Paperback)
The rural setting, episodic style and focus on personal relationships reminded me of "The Archers" so when I finished I decided the best way to describe it to a friend would be "aliens come to Ambridge". This novel also reminded me of the first Eric Brown book I bought - "The Fall of Tartarus" - a series of short stories with a common theme. Having read some of his full-length novels (e.g. "Helix" and "Necropath") I think he is stronger writing short stories and stitching them together. Some readers might have been expecting a plot-driven narrative in a `hard' sci-fi setting, but Brown is writing about changing social trends as seen through different people's eyes.

The characters all live in rural Yorkshire (which seems to be permanently covered in a blanket of pristine white snow) and they all go through some sort of personal difficulty of some sort. This novel examines how the arrival of an alien race (who we never really see) and the introduction of a technology which provides effective immortality affect the people of the village and change the way their personal issues are resolved.

The book never leaves the familiar English countryside setting, so there's nothing overly imaginative and since it's a series of interconnected short stories there's not much character development. Plot-wise there might have been scope for some twists and turns via a persistent sub-plot, but the author has avoided this. The style means it never gets too deep or meaningful, but it is well-written and the focus on personal stories makes good drama.

I enjoyed this book. It's a bit unusual, certainly nothing special from a sci-fi perspective, but moderately thought-provoking all the same. Like all of Brown's books (that I've read) it makes for a good read whilst travelling/commuting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, moving, 16 May 2009
By 
U. M. McCormack "Una McCormack" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kethani (Paperback)
The alien Kethani have arrived on Earth and brought with them the questionable gift of eternal life. The profound changes upon humankind that follow are examined through their effects on a small set of friends living on the Yorkshire moors. A collection of interconnected short stories, simply written, no less thoughtful for it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Kethani
Kethani by Eric Brown (Paperback - 6 April 2009)
6.94
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews