0.4 by Mike Lancaster

When Danny Birnie told us that he had hypnotised his sister we all thought he was mad.

Or lying.

Or both.

The first word that came to mind once I had finished reading was: Wyndhamesque.

It is creepy British sci-fi that belongs on a shelf with Chocky, The Midwich Cuckoos and my Quatermass DVDs.

It’s a brave new world. Not for Kyle Straker though, he no longer exists, or never did, or does he?

0.4 is a meta-tale, made up of two stories the first story begins with an excellent definition of “reading” and the forward that explains why the story is transmitted in such an old-fashioned manner (via printed word). Kyle’s story is the second (and main) tale and is told via the transcripts of cassette tapes found in an old house. The tapes convey an eye-witness account of how and when the world changed, only no-one remembers the world ever being different.

The editors notes explaining archaic terms and concepts scattered throughout the story are brilliant! I particularly enjoyed the Coldplay and Teletubies definitions!

Note – ‘Coldplay’
O’Brien makes a persuasive case for a ‘Coldplay’ referring t a kind of dramatic or musical presentation characterised by being utterly bereft of any signs of genuine emotion.

Kyle, Lilly, Mr Peterson and Mrs Peebles are all hypnotised during a talent show by Kyle’s friend Danny. Out of a village of 2000 souls they make up 0.4 % but that is not it, not all of it. Is it an invasion? Drugs? Mind control? Or something worse – something more insidious?

0.4 is a relatively quick read, gripping and tautly told. The endings are both chilling, leaving more questions than answers, if I did not know that a sequel has already been planned I would have been very upset as this book has left me wanting more!

2 Thoughts on “0.4 by Mike Lancaster

  1. Great review. I like how pop culture references are so funny when taken into a different time frame.
    I am intrigued by this book.
    I am not sure what you mean by ‘Wyndhamesque’ and does meta-tale mean the same thing as nesting in Gothic conventions – 2 stories woven together and paralleling each other (or something like that my brain has shut down this evning)

    • mattlibrarian on March 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm said:

      Wyndhamesque – in the style of or similar to John Wyndham (author of Day of the Triffids, Chocky and others). Meta as in the author has inserted himself into the story as the future editor and compiler of the Kyle Straker tapes. I like the nesting in Gothic conventions too…

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