Review: Amelia's Song – A Virulent Fable / Author: Kneel Downe / Publisher: Lulu.com / Release Date: Out Now
Following his debut last year, Virulent Blurb: Fractures, Downe once again expands his Twitter-based prose, this time laying down the story of a unique little girl who is a big presence in this alternate world.
Amelia's story crosses genders, timelines and species. Weaving in and out of previously established narratives, but staying very much on track within its own tale, it is sci-fi poetry as much as it is a story. It's very easy to get drawn, like Amelia herself, into Downe's futuristic world. While it isn't necessary to have read the earlier book, or even be familiar with the Blurb Universe, it does help. Amelia's heroic quest across strange lands inhabited by numerous strange creatures is an entertaining one, and this time Downe has enlisted the talents of Susan Omand to provide some choice illustrations to his twisted prose. These very effective, grey-scale drawings complement the words perfectly; adding to the images conjured in the imagination from the text.
It's easy to get engrossed in the world he has created, and understandable why Jeff (Vurt) Noon rates him highly. References to everything from Alice in Wonderland to David Bowie are not uncommon, but these nods aside, there is little derivative in the way he tells his tales.
The book, like its predecessor, is a result of his story-based Twitter feed, and as such it flows like a ticker-tape machine instead of a regularly formatted novel, making it surprisingly easy to ingest. Without convoluted descriptive passages, one's imagination gets to work with the nudge of a few carefully chosen words. And had it not been for the occasional bit of swearing, this could easily suit all ages.
Don't be put off by the self-published format; this is no vanity project. With another book due in November, and media companies looking into the Blurb-verse, it's the perfect time to jump into this world. To find out more about the Blurb-verse, head over to the official website, and order the book online here.