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Book Review

Book Cover



Author: Douglas Thompson
Eibonvale Press
RRP: £10.75, US $18.00
ISBN: 978 0 7434 9693 3
Available 01 August 2009

Ultrameta is a book which is both difficult to define, much less explain, without actually reading it. Douglas Thompson has created something which feels quite unique.

At its lowest level it details an investigation into a man who, one fateful night, discovers that death does not exist, where death is thought to exist another life begins. This then starts him on a journey to many places and lives

Many of the stories which appear in this book have appeared as standalone stories, where they have they have normally been labelled slipstream literature, a type of literature which isn’t bound by the conventions of separate genres, rather the stories range across any number creating an unsettling effect, at once powerful and challenging.

In truth the stories make a better cohesive whole presented with a central narrative. It has allowed the author to pull together the strings of a number of stories into a fascinating look at the human condition. Part fantasy, part horror, there is no denying the power of the prose.

On the most surface level you can see a story of a man living many lives, but like Thomas Pynchon, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, what you see on the surface is but a reflection of the immensity which is hidden beneath. Really, I don’t throw those names around lightly; I really was that impressed with the novel, this represents a new form of literature for a new century.

If the review appears short then maybe a new form of criticism needs to be employed, for my part I was just blown away. There are few book which clash imagery and ideas in such a perfect union as Ultrameta. If this isn’t a modern classic, then there is little justice in the world, which would be an irony considering the content of the book.


Charles Packer

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