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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Strange Way Out
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

on 24 August 2013
I picked this ebook up in one of the Amazon sales and on seeing an announcement on Twitter from the man himself.

I did not know what to expect. I haven't read anything else by the author and I didn't read the blurb; I dived straight in. I'd say it's a playful mystery story.

It's fair to say that it hooks you immediately; it's interesting. And I don't mean interesting as in alternative to saying bad. There is a lot of intrigue and it really is set up so that the reader is interested to see where it's going and what the hell is actually going on. I didn't quite manage it in one sitting but it was all done in a couple of hours; this is partly because it is quite short, but also because the pacing is generally good, the narrative is smooth and the word choice assists.

As the story progressed they author provided a couple of pop culture references (or at least I think he did), which I feel enhanced the story.

There are a few negatives. Firstly I felt the conclusion was a bit weak. Some have described it as a twist, but I got a strong indication of the ending about 1/3 and I feel a trick was missed with both the ending and Sammy's secret. I do feel that maybe something more imaginative, experimental and generally off-the-wall could have been done - in fact I expected a little more. The next is the female character. I felt that she fell the wrong side of trope/cliché (The typically beautiful girl who needs rescuing in a manner of speaking). Finally, I didn't feel the POV swap worked very well.

Okay, a few good things and a few not so good things.

I read a lot of dystopian/grim dark future stuff and this story is fairly tame by comparison. But it is a good read and certainly worth the current list price (77p). You will enjoy the journey, if not the end. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone that is into sci-fi fiction and to anyone that wants to do a bit of reading but doesn't have the time for something too long.

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on 2 June 2013
I came across this story via a Twitter conversation. It is by an American author. This is the first piece by him I have read.

The protagonist is a young man called Sammy who is an "in extremis persona". He clearly has a problem, which many readers will surmise near the beginning. One of the main things that engages the reader's interest is to see whether this surmise is correct.

The character of Sammy is fairly well-developed. I did not find that Sammy generated much sympathy, which is fine. Having a somewhat unsympathetic, self-conflicted protagonist gave the story a contemporary feel of a kind which I often strive for in my own writing.

Sammy meets a woman. I won't mention what she is called, because that is a part of the story. The female character does move the story along, and she is part of the resolution, but she is not as well-developed as Sammy.

CREATIVE WRITING TECHNICAL STUFF KLAXON -- The narrative mode I would describe as "third person with limited omniscience" (the same as, say, 'Catch-22'). There is a bit about two-thirds of the way through when the focus of the narration moves from Sammy to the woman - arguably an inconsistency. This is technically one of the most difficult narrative modes to use.

The narrative arc is well-executed. This is a story which knows whose story it is. It has a strong, engaging beginning, and a surprisingly tidy resolution. Some of what happens in the middle seems incoherent, but this is explained in the ending, which I think most readers will find satisfying.

I am giving this three stars because, while the story is structurally strong and the main character is good, there were a few features of the prose style that did not appeal to me: there are too many similes, which tend to detract from the otherwise contemporary feel of the piece. The show/tell balance could be more towards showing in a few places. But it certainly held my attention right to the end.

Follow Troy Blackford on Twitter: @TBlackford3
Author website: www.troyblackford.com
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on 19 September 2013
A great tale from the "pen" of Troy Blackford that begins in a bizarro style, but by the time the reader gets to the end all is revealed as to what's been going on, and it all makes perfect sense.
I'd figured out the issue that Sammy, the main male character had quite early on in the story, but really had no idea of the ending, which was a real "Ta-dah!" moment.
Enjoyable reading as ever, Troy Blackford never fails to entertain, and this short story is yet another of his books that I have no hesitation in recommending.
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on 22 August 2013
A very clever short story. Puts me in mind of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected etc (his adult books, not the more famous children's tales). The plot is disorientating, you really aren't sure if this is even on this planet, sometime in the future, the past? Who knows? Keep reading and enjoy the twist! Another author who's books are going on my wish list for future purchases. Not sure if I fit Mr Blackford's demographic, or if he has one in mind! A book for anyone who appreciates something slightly alternative.
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on 26 November 2013
This is a well written, well presented short story. I picked it up as a kindle freebie (not always the best idea). However I was impressed, it's a good quick read and the writer clearly knows what he's doing! The story is nice and fast paced and keeps you wanting to know what happens next and what the outcome is going to be. Characters were well enough drawn, though 'Legacy' might have been filled out a bit. Given the (serious) issues it addresses I wasn't sure there was enough 'room' to really explore them fully and this made the book feel a bit 'light'. However, Blackford is clearly a talented writer and I've already download more of his work.
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on 7 November 2013
Great story. Gets the mind thinking & if you are like me, you will get it before you reach the end, but this is not a bad thing, as it proves that Troy has got your mind to think. This is what a good story should encourage.

Thanks Troy
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on 27 October 2013
Pretty decent read which I can't say much about without giving the plot away really.

Suffice to say I will be looking at his other books to buy around my next holiday.
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on 6 September 2014
I don't usually read fiction but thought I would give this short story a go. I read it in one read and I thought it was 'different' and I did enjoy it. I will look out for further reads from this author
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on 5 June 2013
Another excellent one-sitting read from Troy. This book takes the reader's imagination to very unexpected places. Cleverly managing again to make totally obscure events seem totally acceptable! Troy's skill at blending his wild imagination into stories that seem to make perfect sense, is definitely at its best in this read. And wow, who saw that ending coming?!
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on 13 November 2013
But an interesting way of looking at and treating addiction. It's a short quick read and draws you in well.
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