Book Review – A Maze of Death by Philip K. Dick

Dark, mysterious and loaded with insensitive protagonists… and very aggravating.

A Maze of Death Book Review by Casey CarlisleGenre: Science Fiction, Mystery

No. of pages: 192

From Goodreads:

When fourteen people arrive to colonize the otherwise uninhabited planet of Delmak-O, they quickly discover that their bizarre new world is more dangerous – and much, much stranger – than they could ever have imagined. The colonists have nothing in common and no idea why they’ve been sent there. All they know is that there’s no way to leave and, one by one, they are being killed..

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I’d been longing for science fiction title for a while, having reviewed so many YA paranormal and contemporaries lately, I was itching for a change. So I picked up ‘A Maze of Death’ because it looked promising and reminded me of the types of books I liked to read in high school (yes I was having a melancholic moment) And well… what can I say?

Firstly, I put this book down a few times, because the narrative is oddly formal, making it feel jarring. With long stretches of dialogue, followed by a simple description of action … it was more like reading a screen play. The dialogue also ran on in a continual stream in some parts, without formatting, so it was difficult to determine who was talking at times. So you can see why I put it down and walked away for a rest.

Additionally, for such a science driven writing style, the narrative felt immature – like absolutely everything had to be explained. Distracting. And with that said, the content was very technical, but the way the characters addressed each other, was like they were talking to a child… the whole novel felt out of wack!

On the plus side, ‘A Maze of Death’ has a dry wit, reminding me of a very unfunny grandpa.

Through the first part of this novel, I had a hard time working out what was going on with the characters – they are all snarky and not very relatable.

There is a point to all this whinging… it was written that way on purpose. I’d explain, but you know – spoilers!

Yes this book is extremely grating and frustrating to read. But has a great twist that leaves you floored.

A Maze of Death Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe planet, Delmak-O where most of the novel is set is a puzzle, and the beginning had me intrigued. Weird things that didn’t make sense. A murder. So many questions I wanted answers for… I was so, so curious.

And you know what curiosity did right?

Well, it slayed me.

I would’ve loved to have experienced better world building, and a more articulate flow of dialogue (also formatting). The conclusion is completely unexpected. Some readers loved it, some loathed it! For me – it felt a little like a cop out and left me wondering why I’d wasted my time with the book. But ultimately it’s a great novel to get you critically thinking. And possibly re-read with this new knowledge.

I appreciate it for what it is, but it’s ultimately not the kind of enjoyable reading experience for me.

Overall feeling: Did that really just happen?

 A Maze of Death Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

A Maze of Death Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You Pashed a Demon? …. by Casey Carlisle

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Freezing my butt off at 1am, dressed in a white robe, sucking face with a demon… and it tastes like rubber!

As a bit of fun I agreed to star in a short film called ‘Midnight’s Medicine;’ Written, Produced and Directed by Ian West. Think ‘Creepshow’ or a gory ‘Twilight Zone’ and you’ll get the picture. The main motivation for taking part in this adventure was not only to add to my earthly experiences, but push outside my comfort zone and see what happens. It was a blast!

Thanks goodness I was only in make-up and costume for half an hour, not like the actors playing the demons in the film, whom spent in excess of two hours having layers of rubber and foam prosthetics and slatherings of face paint caked on to have them looking effectively horrific. My character was Wendy – the forty year old sacrificial virgin… only that I was a chain smoking, nine month pregnant (and ready to pop) sacrificial virgin; and amorous with all the demons to boot! I was done up in over-the-top smeared pageant make-up and messy, back-combed hair and gently pushed out on to a smoke filled set.

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Cue the comedic performance, complete with a flirt and lick up the side of a spiky-face demon, followed by a cough… when the baby gestating inside my belly deftly popped out and fell to the ground with a wet splat (a prop baby, so don’t start ringing child services). At this point the surrounding five demons, all about to plunge a dagger into my heart in sacrifice to their adored devil master, are astounded that I am not, in fact, a virgin, and begin to accuse each other for defiling my virtue. Then the truth comes out – I’d had my wicked ways with all of them. A fight ensues and they all manage to slaughter each other leaving me standing there uninterested and puffing away on a ciggie.

The screen fades with me wandering off, shrugging at the display, forgetting the recently birthed progeny wriggling in a slimy puddle at my feet.

Not exactly a love story. LOL.

Best part of the night would have to be the camaraderie and catering services – best pasta and sausage sizzle to date. The worst, stepping in a tin of the lighter fluid used for the torches off camera and walking about the rest of the Melbourne middle-of-winters-night with a soggy shoe, and smelling like gasoline.

So I put it to you: don’t be afraid to try something new and crazy, you never know what kind of fun you’re going to have. They always make great stories!

© Casey Carlisle 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.