On reading: The Garden by James Kester

The Garden by James Kester

Title: The Garden

Author: James Kester

From the back: Throughout human history, the peddlers of certainty have reigned supreme. When Galileo first cast doubt about the place of the Earth within the cosmos, he was condemned . . . Either you believed that God’s Eden was the garden of all life, or you were a heretic.

2045 – a mile-high asteroid suspended in the sky above the Yangdi valley in China, casting a shadow across human history, eradicating doubt. The Stone – as it comes to be known – appeared from nowhere and now hangs silent. Media around the world reels with the sudden knowledge: We are not alone.

From the four corners of the Earth, humanity must face its deepest, unanswered questions. And from the remotest Indian village, to the dense and crowded cities of our 21st century world, peasant boys, religions, governments – all will face a final reckoning.

What is the true purpose of the Stone? Or its intent . . . And what are the strange, fragile seeds being discovered on the subcontinent?

The garden is about to bear deadly fruit.

The gist: It’s a short, sharp, quick witted foray into what’s gonna happen when some goddamn weird alien monsters take over the planet. I mean, ‘alien monsters’ as in all manner of wonderful, bizarre and dangerous entities – a whole ecosystem of non-earth-based surrealism. And actually, it’s really not about monsters, it’s more about survival, and how the world changes as the balance of life on this insignificant mound changes. Add in some pretty damn spot on commentary around the way humans react to this (at all levels, from raw emotional and spiritual reactions to carefully crafted, favourite-baiting tweets), and you’ve got a damn fine look into a strange and daunting future.

The Garden is a smart, well-crafted book. It never follows a single character longer than it takes for you to take a peek through a window into their lives, then whisks you off to meet someone new. It throws you across the whole range of reactions to an earth changing event that spans years. It shows you kindness, fear and insanity. And it’ll also make you laugh.

Seriously, kudos to the favourite line.

Favourite line: “Did you just… ejaculate on my hut?”

Read if: You want snippets of the future seen through many different eyes, seasoned generously with a dash of social media and cynicism.

Read with: Cheese, to help fuel your alien monster dreams.

Get it: The Garden by James Kester

Grind Spark – out now

Longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014, Grind spark is a near-future dystopian novel about growing up in the years leading up to the end of the world. It’s about pretending to be the perfect family. It’s about whether you want to survive. Treat your eye portals. Pick up your copy here.

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