I usually review new books on this blog but after attending a recent event at Hot Key Books, I couldn’t resist picking up one of the books I was given which I have been meaning to read for a while. (Especially since I’ve come to a bit of a stale-mate with my other current read- you know how it is- something shinier comes along and bang.)
Maggot Moon needn’t be attempted by anyone without an imagination; it is one of those books which require outside-the-box thinking from the outset and for me, a little perseverance. But the rewards are great. Gardner throws us straight in to this dystopian past (1950s Britain) with our constantly present narrator, Standish. It is immediately apparent that Standish is not the brightest bulb in the box but has a heart and an imagination which see him through; and you certainly would need something about you if you too were living in Standish’s world. The past we are presented with is a complete reimagining of history and without giving too much away, reminded me of the kind of ‘lock-down’ state imagined in V for Vendetta; it warns us of what could (or could have in this case) happened if a few gain all of the power they instinctually crave, and use it to control the many. As a conspiracy reveals itself it is Standish’s challenge to use his vivid imagination to outwit the plans of the powerful.
There are many terms that you must get to grips with quickly to follow the flow of the book. Some examples being; ‘Greenflies’, ‘Motherland’ and ‘Mothers for Purity’; I would argue that for most of these you are given clues, but you are generally left to fill in the gaps with yourself. A literary technique I found clever and intriguing.
I think that Maggot Moon is deserved of the attention it has received and also believe that it is right for it to be present in the adult fiction section as well as its target teen space as it contains an ever-important message about the delicate balance of power. By the end, you will certainly wish Planet Juniper was reachable.