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In Russia, You Do the Confusing,
This review is from: Yellow Blue Tibia: A Novel (Paperback)
I sometimes wonder what would happen if the skies were to open and an alien threat descended onto Earth. I like to think the wars that plight this planet would stop as we realise there is little difference between human beings, but a lot of difference between humans and radioactive aliens. According to Adam Roberts, I may have the same opinion as Stalin. In `Blue Green Tibia', Stalin enlists the help of several science fiction writers to come up with a credible alien threat that could be used to harness the loyalty of his Communist followers. Several decades later Skrovecky, one of the sci fi writers, becomes caught up in an adventure that suggests the fiction they created may just be becoming real.
There are elements of `Tibia' to enjoy. The concept is a high one and very interesting if you stop and think about it. However, this is a book that is too clever for its own good. Roberts mixes reality and fiction together to try and keep the reader guessing. Is this science fiction or a spy thriller? In the end I was a little lost and did not care about either. For fans of harder science fiction, they could probably unravel some of what was going on, but I was unable to really get `it'.
This is a real shame as the confusing structure of the book masks some nice characters. Skrovecky is very amusing; his dry wit leads to some funny moments. There are also numerous side characters that appear to have mental/physical illnesses that make them quirky and interesting to read. However, this quirkiness infects the novel itself and the confused narrative meant that I was unable to enjoy the experience as a whole and actively disliked it at times.