RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    "Bergen keeps the reader hanging onto the reality of it all, even if at times it is impossible... he manages to take me back to the '80s, where the music was better and the fashions of the day were fun — but the feelings of Mina and her other characters are not to be missed either. There is more than an element of Alice in Wonderland to this story, and I found it one that I couldn’t help but keep picking up to find out what would happen next." ~ , The British Fantasy Society

  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    Our keen interest in the '80s is clear, it’s a time when Ronnie Reagan was president, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet were the in-thing and rave and dance music, or indie music hadn’t taken over. The '80s are just as iconic today as the previous decades were. We always go back to them for their fashion inspired looks, amazing celebrities, and in this novel, Bergen has one girl who wants to change the world.

    Mina lives in 80s Australia when the goth movement in music had taken hold. Remember Siouxie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and The Damned, she is surrounded by the types who listen to this music, even before emos were even thought of. Also by Bergen, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, One Hundred Years of Vicissitude, The Condimental Op and Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? are some of the strangest titles you will find, and Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is the story of a strange girl who might resemble the girl on the cover in dark Gothic Lolita style, tied to a landscape by strings, ones I think she wants to break.

    Mina starts out by telling her story of events that have happened in her life, narrating them as they have already happened, but is this real?

    Readers may get the feeling that a great deal of it is fictional, made up from off the top of her head as she is quite the dreamer, and you get the impression she is either lying, or it didn’t happen at all. There is more than an element of Alice in Wonderland to this story and I found it one that I couldn’t help but keep picking up to find out what would happen next. Mina has to make sense of a life where her relationships and friendships have all been strange, almost fictional, you could say.

    Bergen keeps the reader hanging onto the reality of it all, even if at times it is impossible, but to be honest, and to give the writer his dues, he manages to take me back to the '80s where the music was better and the fashions of the day were fun, but the feelings of Mina and her other characters are not to be missed either.

    For anyone reading this who is younger than forty, there is a nice Antedeluvia Almanac where Bergen explains most of the words associated with '80s pop culture, the bands, singers and movies out at the time, plus Aussie slang some may not have heard of. It is obvious from the cover illustrated by Kyme Chan, the back cover image by Suka Pon-ta and the pop culture references that lean toward Japanese culture that our author is a Japanophile. His interest has also crept into his other novels and holds a personal interest for me.

    http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/reviews/depth-charging-ice-planet-goth-by-andrez-bergen-book-review/ ~ Sandra Scholes, The British Fantasy Society

  • Wanderer, The
    Timothy J. Jarvis
    'The Wanderer' is a labyrinth of fact and fiction, of stories within stories, of textual ambiguity. It somehow manages to combine elements of the Gothics and pulps, old-school science fiction, with a thoroughly modern understanding of horror and the weird. It contains shout outs to many classics of the genre, in particular Poe, Lovecraft and Jules Verne... and indeed, in one bravura passage it manages to encompass almost the entire history of weird fiction into its own fictitious universe. It's gory in places, it's philosophical, it's darkly comic, it's deeply serious yet in parts has the tone of a shaggy dog story told in a disreputable public house.

    In short, it's one of the best novels I've read for a long time: original, disturbing and witty. I'm certain it will repay rereading as well, as the significance of certain earlier sections only becomes clear later on. I thought it outstanding. ~ James Everington, Scattershot Writing

  • Twilight of the Wolves
    edward j rathke
    Synopsis: "Twilight of the Wolves" by Edward J. Rathke is an epic fantasy involving a man cursed by a dying god's blessing, a mute eunuch carrying the dead to the Goddess of Death, and a young girl saved from a burning metropolis only to be raised by the cursed man and two wolf gods. These three lives intersect and become bound together as they walk with gods, watch them die, and hide from the terror that is humanity's lust for violence and destruction. Wandering across countries and cultures, the characters discover the cacophony and contradiction of visions and values that define humanity. They see the collision of cultures highlighting the definitions of civilization and try to find their place within and without them. The past, present, and future haunt the people of this world as they wander on, hoping to find an answer to the questions buried deepest.

    Critique: A beautifully crafted story of unexpected plot twists and turns, "Twilight of the Wolves" is an inherently fascinating and thoroughly absorbing read from beginning to end -- and one that will have very strong appeal for fantasy fiction enthusiasts. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy & Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Twilight of the Wolves" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

    Jack Mason
    Reviewer

    ~ Jack Mason, Midwest Book Reviews

  • Wanderer, The
    Timothy J. Jarvis
    In his introduction to the recent New York Review of Books edition of two horror novels by William Sloane, Stephen King writes that the books are 'actual works of literature,' in that slightly embarrassed way fans of genre fiction have of explaining themselves to others.

    'Actual literature' is code for things like 'well-developed characters' and 'non-formulaic plots,' and as much as genre fans may bridle at such distinctions, few of them have not experienced the rush of joy that accompanies the discovery of a book that can be safely recommended to one’s non-genre-reading friends. Look – characters! Accomplished prose! Literature!

    This is approximately the sensation one feels when reading 'The Wanderer', Timothy J. Jarvis’ debut novel. A tricky, postmodern work that can function as a collection of short stories as easily as a science fiction novel, and is best received as both at the same time, it’s the sort of weird fiction that you’d give to someone to convert them to weird fiction.

    This is an extraordinarily accomplished first novel, and readers of weird fiction have much cause for celebration at the prospect of a second. In a corner of the literary world where 'actual literature' is all too rare, Timothy Jarvis’ 'The Wanderer' is the real thing. ~ Tom Breen, Muzzleland Press

  • Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
    Andrez Bergen
    "What really makes this book work are the characters and the dialogue... think of it as The Matrix as told through the eyes of Stan Lee and then rewritten by Jim Thompson. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome." ~ , Chicago News

  • Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
    Andrez Bergen
    If a genre mashup book is done right, it can be a beautiful thing. When an author can get a bunch of genres that shouldn’t fit together swirling and twirling around together like a Dancing with the Stars champion, the odds are it is going to make for a very unique and interesting book.

    Andrez Bergen’s Who is killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is just that. A unique and interesting Frankenstein monster of a book that combines science fiction, noir, and comic book superheroes and actually gets it to work.

    The first thing you will probably notice about this book is the cover artwork. It is a stunning piece that somehow manages to capture all of these genres perfectly. The city looks like an old 1940s skyline, the body in the spotlight gives that mystery noir feel to it, and it has the appearance of being a frame straight out of a 1960s comic book. It is a beautiful piece of artwork that really catches your attention, and, fortunately, Bergen was able to back up this art and create a story that is just as good.

    But what exactly is the story and how the heck does Bergen get it to work? Well, without giving too much away (haven’t you learned by now that these never include a summary of the plot! The less you know going into a story, the better it is!), think of it as The Matrix as told through the eyes of Stan Lee and then rewritten by Jim Thompson. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

    And while the setting of the city of Heropa is built beautifully and really feels like a city you would find being defended by caped crusaders during the Silver Age of Comic Books, what really makes this book work are the characters and the dialogue.

    First, the characters are all interesting. Each one has their own superhero persona and special power and costume. They are all familiar, but with a twist. Kind of like the book itself. They have names such as Southern Cross, Pretty Amazonian, and the Brick. They are all fun, interesting, and surprisingly complex.

    Part of what makes these characters so compelling, and quite possibly the best part of the novel, is the dialogue.

    This 450-page book is incredibly dialogue heavy, and that isn’t a bad thing. Not when the dialogue is so expertly crafted. Each character has their own voice and the conversations flow so naturally it seems like Bergen was just recording people’s actual conversations and putting them down on paper (The Brick’s dialogue is particularly fun to read. He is like a 1940s wise guy).

    During some of the parts that are a little more exposition heavy, you will most likely find yourself very eager to get to the next round of dialogue, not because Bergen is particularly bad at writing straight prose, but because he is so good at writing dialogue.

    Adding to the comic book feel of the novel are occasional illustrations throughout the book (done by 35 different artists) that illustrate certain aspects of the story. Typically this is newspaper headlines/covers and character models (what is a good superhero tale without a sketch of the heroes in their costumes?). There aren’t too many illustrations, but the ones that are there add another layer to this book to help make it work.

    Is this book fine literature? Nope. But who cares. Not every novel needs the pompous title of “fine literature”. Sometimes a novel can just be a damn good book. And that is exactly what Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is; a damn good book.

    The dialogue is as good and as true to life (at least, the life that is portrayed within the book) as you will find and the characters are incredibly interesting. Oh, and the mystery aspect isn’t too shabby either.

    So if you aren’t someone who is too interested in reading Faulkner, Hemingway, or Dostoyevsky, or if you just need a break from novels like ones by those authors, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is as good a book as any to turn to.

    It is the type of book that will have you smiling as you read it, it is just that fun. And who among us couldn’t use some more fun in their life? Do yourself a favor and give this book a shot. ~ David Malone, Chicago News

  • Wanderer, The
    Timothy J. Jarvis
    I thought this book was impressive, especially for a first time effort. I will be looking for more from this author in the future, because I did enjoy his imaginative telling of this super weird tale. Highly recommended! ~ Charlene, Char's Horror Corner

  • Wanderer, The
    Timothy J. Jarvis
    Imagine a novel that tries to define supernatural horror fiction while re-defining it for a modern sensibility. The nearest example I can think of is 'The Ceremonies' by T.E.D. Klein, a book many considered a qualified failure. Well, a second contender has now emerged in the form of 'The Wanderer', a remarkable debut from a British author.

    'The Wanderer' is a remarkable achievement, albeit a flawed one. As one review (quoted in the book) succinctly remarks, reading it is a little like wandering through a library assembled by some insane devotee of fantastic atrocities and excesses. ~ David Longhorn, The Supernatural Tales Blog

  • Thimio's House
    John Kefala Kerr
    Flawed characters make for a really involving story, set against the current problems in Greece. ~ tripfiction.com, http://www.tripfiction.com/books/thimios-house/

  • Thimio's House
    John Kefala Kerr
    A beautifully evocative and poetic tale about a group of people living in a remote house on the Pelion coast. It's got sea, sun and mystery as well as a dash of Platonic idealism thrown in. ~ Tripadvisor, http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g189398-s205/Greece:Recommended.Reading.html

  • Wanderer, The
    Timothy J. Jarvis
    'The Wanderer' by Timothy J. Jarvis is a novel, or a found manuscript, or a dream. It tells of those who have seen through rifts in the thin veneer of our superficial world and entered into a deeper, unfathomably dark meta-reality. The story (or stories, as it contains many) spans vast swathes of time, and equally traverses the geography of our globe's cities, shadows and far flung desolate spaces to tell its story of impending, unassailable terror.

    This is the kind of novel that demands to be read again, and surely new aspects will then surface to delight and disturb. Who knows where I'll find myself re-reading this in the future though? In a cosy pub, on board a founded ship, at a Punch and Judy show, in Glasgow, London, or somewhere beneath them all? ~ Chris Whitehead, Taphonomy

  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    My old man believed in first impressions. He thought people who didn't understand the importance of making a strong first impressions were idiots, underachievers too caught up in their own ego to appreciate the big picture. Over a decade of living on my own proved him right, but every rule has its exception.

    Take Andrez Bergen, for example. His first novel TOBACCO-STAINED MOUNTAIN GOAT struck me as an enjoyable oddity and I almost threw the towel on him after reading WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? Sometimes, it only matters to make a decent enough impression to keep your reader doing what he should be doing. If Bergen hadn't persevered through his flaws, I wouldn't have got to read the hidden treasure that is DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH.

    Mina is a young, nerdy goth girl navigating her way through the land-mined paths of teenagehood and high school the best she can. She's having some issues at home though, suffering from the abuse of one of her family members, and her overflowing imagination created an imaginary friend called Animeid in order to help her cope with such a difficult situation. Mina's becoming a young woman, though and she has to face important decision that'll dictate the course of her upcoming adult life. Reality and fiction always end up going their separate ways, but in order to overcome her demons, Mina will have to bulldozer a new path for herself somewhere in between both.

    Andrez Bergen has finally cracked it open. I've always believe in his peculiar, feverish, staccato-delivered style, but thought that it was ill-fitting to his previous novels' content. The proverbial square peg in the round hole, if you will. It's right at home in DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH though, through the eyes of Mina, Bergen's nerdy and sensitive protagonist, who has a hundred centers of interest, and a hundred ways to cope with the challenges of her young existence. Mina even triggered my ol' empathy gland, which I hadn't used in a while. I used to be not that different from her, if you swap the goth obsessions for a nerdy fascination with every possible form of extreme metal. So there was an emotional component to my appreciation of DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH.

    There's more than a fun, nerdy protagonist to DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH, though. There is this polyphonic metafictional approach that's keep you bouncing from one world to another, sometimes through Mina's own fiction, sometimes through her imaginary and, what I thought made this approach interesting, Mina' situation is a part of every of her layers of reality in one way or another. DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH has this Christopher Nolan puzzle-like quality to it that deploys the story in several mismatched pieces. It is slightly challenging, but it doesn't demand Olympian effort to follow since it has kind of a narrative highway tying everything together: Mina's family situation.

    DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH is somewhat of a perfect storm for Andrez Bergen. It's a coming-of-age novel seen through the eyes of a tormented child trying to become an adult. It's whimsical enough not to be melodramatic and it's serious and cohesive enough to keep readers under. Bergen always struck me as being a tad overambitious in the past, but this works. It's like a wayward athlete finding the right team to make him happy and productive. If Andrez Bergen keeps going in this direction, he'll have a lifelong fan in me. He's a pretty eclectic and peculiar author, but if you have to choose one of his novels to read, make it DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH. It's one of the best novels I've read in 2015, so far. ~ Benoit Lelievre, Dead End Follies

  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    "Somewhat of a perfect storm for Andrez Bergen... [that] has this Christopher Nolan puzzle-like quality to it. It's a coming-of-age novel seen through the eyes of a tormented child trying to become an adult. It's whimsical enough not to be melodramatic and it's serious and cohesive enough to keep readers under." ~ Benoit Lelievre, Dead End Follies

  • Wanderer, The
    Timothy J. Jarvis
    'The Wanderer' is one of the best books of 2014, hands down. Weird fiction is dominated by short stories and novellas, and it's rare that a novel length piece of work comes along that is as engaging throughout as this book.

    Jarvis explores many ideas over the course of his novel: what happens when man crosses borders into strange places he is not meant to be, what is it like to be hunted and live in fear, how does immortality over the ages affect a person? The novel is filled with scenes of terror, scenes of awe, and a glimpse into an ordinary man's millenia-spanning world.

    I say this is my favorite novel of 2014, and it's a statement I stand by. Jarvis has chops, and 'The Wanderer' is an epic sized tale of weirdness and horror that no one should miss. It's terrifying, mind-bending, beautiful and unforgettable. ~ Justin Steele, Arkham Digest

  • Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
    Andrez Bergen
    Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is a fantastically different and entertaining novel, set in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future where there is only one city left on earth. Therefore, is it any wonder that the oppressed citizens of this city seek escape within a virtual world? Our hero, who is just fifteen, lives alone - his parents long ago dragged off by the fascist police. He ekes out a meagre existence by scavenging for food. It's on one of these food hunts that he discovers a hoard of ancient comics. From that moment on he is hooked. Later, this knowledge of comic books will lead to him securing a place in a virtual world that is quite unlike any other. As with any virtual realm there are defined rules. Andrez Bergen is clear in outlining these: No swearing and no drinking among others. Breaking these will result in our player being kicked from Heropa with a two-day penalty.

    I'm no reader of comics. I grew up reading the classic sci-fi novels so just about all of the author's carefully crafted references and in jokes probably flew right over my balding head. However, I enjoyed the witty comic book banter, which was always effective, and it was great to read a book with no swearing in for a change! In my own fiction there's foul language on almost every page.
    What I enjoyed most about this novel is the interplay between the characters. Humour is very much the backbone of Chandler style who dunnit. Our hero, Southern Cross, attempts to find out who is killing the great capes of Heropa. It’s not a perfect world and relationships are flawed, things start to go wrong in the game with sometimes comic and even sinister consequences.

    Bergen has created a spectacular world here and I could easily see it running to a series of novels, comics and spin offs. Interesting artwork enriches the kindle edition I read. A very different read that I enjoyed from page one until the conclusion. The author has researched his subject painstakingly and meticulously and the novel flows like warm butter from a pan. A well deserved five stars from me. ~ Darren Sant, Daz's Reviews

  • Wanderer, The
    Timothy J. Jarvis
    'The Wanderer' is the debut novel by Timothy Jarvis. I read it a couple of months ago and the book’s blend of Shielian 'last man' fantasy and time-twisted, oneiric horror has stayed with me ever since the last page. This review is a much-expanded version of a short post I felt I had to put on Facebook shortly after reaching the end of this brilliant, brilliant book.

    This is an intelligent, ludic work, beautifully articulate and poetic, with respectful yet impish reverence given to the best writers of strange stories over the last few decades. It’s also surprisingly and delightfully grim in all the right ways.

    'The Wanderer' has been my novel of the year so far, and there’s only a few weeks left of this one so I can’t see it being bettered; in fact, I haven’t read as cohesive and compelling a weird fiction novel in a very long time. The fact that it is a debut makes it all the more revelatory and I cannot recommend this book enough. Even with the teetering pile(s) of titles on my to read list, I sense that I’ll be revisiting this one very soon to see what I may have missed along the way the first time. ~ Brian Lavelle, No Time Is Passing

  • Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
    Andrez Bergen
    ''I'm in love with you, Jack - but I have no clue who you really are.''

    I'm having this pseudo-philosophical grudge with superheroes and the important place they occupy in the zeitgiest. They used to be a nerd thing. Not that I ever was a great comic book consumer, but superheroes have lost quite a bit of meaning now that everybody just likes them a little. At least, they lost some meaning to me. The third full-length novel of Australian author Andrez Bergen WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? is all about superheroes and meaning. The idea is absolutely brilliant, yet the execution is puzzling like only Bergen knows how to be puzzling. WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? doesn't give superheroes their meaning back like superpowers, but it's a fascinating deconstruction of the concept in its own way.

    In Heropa, things work a little differently. It's a sprawling metropolis inhabited by adoring and oh-so-anonymous masses of people. The city is also inhabited by Capes, people with superpowers who find themselves on polar opposites of the moral compass. When Melbourne teenager Jacob lands in Heropa, he becomes Southern Cross, the new recruits of The Equalizers, a small, ragtag group of superheroes in charge of fighting crime and rogue Capes. The Capes of Heropa have been dying though and Southern Cross will have a trial by fire with a first case that threatens the balance of the entire city.

    Andrez Bergen has establishes somewhat of a modus operandi with his first two novels TOBACCO-STAINED MOUNTAIN GOAT and 100 YEARS OF VICISSITUDE. His books are highly referential and it's easy to get lost. Apparently, WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? is a love-letter to the golden age of comic books, which I have no frame of reference for. So my reading was almost enitrely innocent and it felt overwhelming, more often than not, having to deal with so many characters. Andrez Bergen has a very idiosyncratic way of writing dialogue (and dialogue form most of his novels) and I got lost a couple time, ping-ponging between the members of the cast of his most ambitious novel, so far.

    ''I'm Stan the Doorman.''

    Jack decided he liked Stan's eyes. They were warm and accompanied by a suave moustache above a winning smile.

    ''You may label me the Doormat,'' the gent in red waffled on, ''since there are some here who do just that - but I prefer to be considered a welcoming committee.''

    Jack looked at him for a few seconds, rediscovering anew the ability to speak. ''Okay. Um, Can I call you Stan? That Cool McCool?''

    One of the things I benefited by reading WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? is that I think I finally wrapped my mind around Andrez Bergen's writing style. He is something close of Douglas Adams meets Wes Anderson. His style is quirky, whimsical, idiosyncratic and fast paced. It's a strange approach for what is technically a superhero novel, but I thought it was more of a deconstruction than a classic superhero tale, where the Capes are all human and all struggle with emotions that would ''normally'' be below the nobility of their duty. It's what fascinated me with WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? and why I didn't really felt strong emotions during my reading: there was no mystique, no proper manifest destiny, just people with a great gift trying to take the right decisions.

    I wasn't swept away by WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? but it didn't leave me cold. In fact, it's difficult to put a finger on how this novel made me feel, which is kind of a recurring theme when I read Andrez Bergen. I read this novel with the same fascination of a man looking at an ant farm after smoking a doobie. Things were moving, following their own frame of reference which I don't have, but I could only admire the cohesiveness despite lacking some basic information in order to fully enjoy the extent of this novel's ambition. I wouldn't recommend diving into the quirky world of Andrez Bergen with WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? first, unless you're a comic book buff. His most accessible novel probably is 100 YEARS OF VICISSITUDE, which also happens to be my favourite of his. Anyway, Andrez Bergen keeps his heavyweight title belt of most unique author on the internet with WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CAPES OF HEROPA? folks.

    In hindsight, it may be all you need to know. ~ Benoît Lelièvre, Dead End Follies

  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    I’m excited guys. I really am. Because today, once again, I am highlighting the highly talented Andrez Bergen. I’ve mentioned him numerous times on this blog and lauded him with as much acclaim as possible. For good reason. In my opinion, this guy is one of the best Indie Authors out there – if not THE best. His style of writing, attention to detail – and numerous references to music, pop culture, Anime and classic cinema, all mixed in with his Australian style of humour just come together in one perfect blend. It sucks you in and makes you feel that you aren’t just reading the story, you’re living it! That was the case I felt with Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat and One Hundred Years of Vicissitude.

    So when I heard he had a new novel coming out I just HAD to read it! And as this will be my last Pandragon Reviews for a while, what better way to end it than with one of my favourite authors! So let’s wrap up warm for the journey that is Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth.

    Cover

    This cover is just WOW! I love how the white background allows all the other colours to just leap out at you and Mina’s icy stare just catches you off guard. Notice how she appears to have puppet strings around her? Symbolism! This kinda reminds me of old school Sci-Fi novel covers – or even classic Horror movie posters. Either way it catches the eye.

    Synopsis

    She's a disturbed, quiet girl, but Mina wants to do some good out there. It's just that the world gets in the way. This is Australia in the 1980s, a haven for goths and loners, where a coming-of-age story can only veer into a murder mystery.

    What I liked

    Firstly, let me just say this. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth – BEST. TITLE. EVER! This is one of those titles that, even if you don’t know what the story is about, you wanna check it out just by the title alone! It’s a title that captures the surreal wit that Bergen is famous for. It also catches you off guard a little as, on hearing it, I thought it was gonna be a sci-fi story. The tale I got was a little different, but still worth reading.

    Like his other novels, Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is told from the POV of the protagonist – in this case Mina. Mina is a kind introverted girl with some issues – mostly abuse at the hands of her older sibling and generally being just an outcast of society. Then she meets a dark character called Animeid (read it backwards and you get a hint as to what is going down) and then s*** really starts to get real! I won’t spoil too much of the story, but rest assured things get increasing more violent as the story goes on.

    Now compared to other protagonists from Andrez Bergen’s previous novels, Mina is a little bit more introverted compared to say, the protagonists of Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat and One Hundred Years of Vicissitude – but she still has the biting sarcasm and wit that you would expect from Mr Bergen’s stories. She probably is a little bit more unstable mentally than many of the other characters, but I personally could understand a lot of her agony. She has a pretty unhappy lifestyle and pretty much is tormented by members of her own family. Throughout the narration, we delve a little deeper into her psychological state and, through the help of Animeid, she gains a little more confidence – possibly at the cost of her sanity.

    The one thing I liked about this story is that a lot of it was opened to interpretation – especially the character of Animeid. And as a lot of this is told from Mina’s point of view, we never really are getting the full explanation. Is there a supernatural element at work – or is Anim just in Mina’s head and she’s using it as a way of coping with all the crap that’s going on and using that as a way to help her stand up to her problems. Or maybe put something else right – again, no spoilers.

    On a side note, it is great to read about a female protagonist. Not that I didn’t like his other main characters, I always enjoy reading about female leads that aren’t just “femme fatale’s”.

    In many ways, the novel serves as a metaphor for growing up in general. Sorta like a coming of age tale in a way – albeit with somewhat darker themes of abuse and possibly mental illness. However, what I liked most about the story is that it doesn’t always go the way you expect it to and the tale can throw the odd twist in here and there. It means that even if you’ve worked out a twist, the story can still surprise you.

    What I didn’t like

    The only minor nitpick I would say about this (and it is just a nitpick) was that I felt some of the chapters were a little longer than they needed to be. Not that that was a major problem as the chapters are laid out so that they don’t overload you with too much info at once (which is always the trick when writing chapters), but I couldn’t help but think maybe the chapters could be shorter. That’s just a personal thing for me and the ONLY negative I would say about this book.

    PROS (Frozen – that’s the Celldweller song NOT the film! Give it a listen):
    Best title ever!
    A great metaphor for isolation, loneliness and psychosis.
    Tale is captivating and drags you in.
    Has plenty of twists and surprises.

    CONS (cold as ice):
    Some chapters are a bit too long.

    Summary

    Once again, Andrez Bergen has written a tale that is entertaining, unique and has more style and substance in two pages than most recent bestsellers have in their entire word count! Why this guy isn’t winning more awards I don’t know – but he should. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is a great mix of coming of age with dark subtext and some possibly supernatural themes as well. It’s a captivating read – although maybe that’s just me being biased! Either way, I highly recommend this novel. READ IT NOW!!!

    FINAL SCORE: 4.5/5 ~ Dan Wright, Pandragon Dan

  • Bald New World
    Peter Tieryas Liu
    Bald New World is Peter Tieryas Liu’s first novel (he has published a short story collection, Watering Heaven). Aside from writing, he works as a VFX artist for films and a technical writer for LucasArts, the video game division of LucasFilm. Also, as an Asian American writing science fiction, he is a voice that is severely underrepresented in the genre. Delving into a project like Bald New World, with its off-the-wall premise and its non-mainstream cast of characters, is certainly a commercial risk, but Liu has proceeded with confidence, humor, and prescience. The world of books is richer with his inclusion. ~ Simon Han, http://heavyfeatherreview.com/2014/10/15/bald-new-world-by-peter-tieryas-liu/

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  • Amy R. BiddleAmy R. BiddleBorn and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Amy now spends half of her life at sea and the...
  • Michael Paul GonzalezMichael Paul GonzalezMichael Paul Gonzalez lives and writes in Los Angeles. He is the editor at ThunderDomeMag.com, an on...
  • Brandon TietzBrandon TietzBrandon Tietz was born in Omaha, NE, in 1982. He studied literature and illustration at the Universi...
  • Craig WallworkCraig WallworkCraig Wallwork lives in West Yorkshire, England. He is an artist, filmmaker and writer. His short st...
  • Nik KorponNik KorponNik Korpon writes about crime: Crimes of the Heart, Crimes of the Soul, and Crimes Where the Body Ca...
  • John Kefala KerrJohn Kefala KerrJohn Kefala Kerr is an award-winning composer and sound artist. A graduate of the Guildhall School o...
  • Ryan  Elliot WilsonRyan Elliot WilsonRyan Elliot Wilson's writing has appeared in The Painted Bride Quarterly, Thunderdome, Drift, and th...
  • Caleb J. RossCaleb J. RossCaleb J. Ross has a BA in English Literature and creative writing from Emporia State University. His...
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  • Phil JourdanPhil JourdanPhil Jourdan is an author, musician and PhD-researching gentleman from Portugal, living in the UK. ...
  • Christopher J. DwyerChristopher J. DwyerChristopher J. Dwyer is a writer from Boston, Massachusetts. His work has appeared in numerous onlin...
  • John CulbertJohn CulbertJohn Culbert taught for many years at the University of California, Irvine before moving to Vancouve...
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