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Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith

Only Forward (1994)

by Michael Marshall Smith

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
The book started well, with a nice attempt at Noir-style writing. It was funny and surreal, with a wise-cracking anti-hero navigating a well constructed dystopian society, where technology malfunctions in a human way. I enjoyed it up until the point Stark and Alkland entered Jeamland, then it turned silly, and the ideas weren't strong enough to really grab my attention. It felt as though it wanted to be a Discworld book, but Terry Pratchett wrote far better than Michael Marshall Smith. Then it turned into a kind of supernatural horror story, something like Glen Duncan would write but, again, not as good. There were some nice touches along the way, but over all it seemed confused about what it wanted to be as a book. I made myself finish it, but I wasn't really interested in what happened towards the end, and there were moments when it felt as though Marshall Smith wasn't that interested either. The big reveal made me shrug my virtual shoulders. I doubt I'll read any more of his stuff. ( )
  missizicks | Jan 2, 2016 |
GENIAL. Devorei este livro em 3 dias e há muito tempo que não lia uma história tão bem conseguida e com uma complexidade fascinante. O heroí/narrador parte dum bairro chamado "Colour" que contém/recolhe/aceita pessoas que respeitem estar dentro de ambientes de cores. Para além deste bairro existe o "Red", bairro de extrema violência, o Centre, para os Actioneers (que não conseguem parar de pensar em trabalho) e entre outros o "Stable", um bairro isolado do resto dos outros bairros. A segregação selectiva através da divisão dum mundo por bairros é fascinante e mostra até onde o nosso egoísmo nos poderá levar. Mas mais fascinante é o processo de busca pelo nosso heroí dum "Actioneer" desparecido e as implicações que isso pode ter para todos, em especial sabendo nós que não se pode voltar atrás nunca => "Only Forward"
  bruc79 | Jul 31, 2015 |
I read this at the urging of my British friend, Simon. I don't remember it that well now, but I do remember that through the first half I thought it was just okay, and then it took a turn and I really enjoyed it after that. ( )
  tercat | Feb 6, 2014 |
Science fiction and crime are a wonderful paring, mix with a dollop of the surreal and you get something special.

PI Stark lives in The City. A place where people gravitate to neighbourhoods full of like-minded people. So those who want silence go live in Quiet, those who love the cut and thrust and business never stop working in The Action Centre. Into this Stark gets a missing person case. A seemingly straightforward case, but obviously it’s going to be tangled and dangerous. It’s going to involve gun fights and mad escapes and cats. It’s going to finally make him confront who he is.

The action in the first is superb and characters fall into their allotted place nicely but it all really shines due the setting which is the star of the show for the 1st half (but never overwhelms the story). It's just so very cool and evocative; from the city of colour (where walls harmonise with your outfit) to the city of cats (where only cat lovers are allowed to visit), from Red (where the violent gangsters live) to Stable (which hides itself off from reality with tall walls and an enclosed eco-system).

Well maybe I lied about the characters. Our narrator is unreliable, he tells you only what is relevant and what's relevant constantly changes. It is a masterful hook, makes you feel at sea and uncertain but desperate to read more and you are certainly rewarded when the book starts shifting to be something else. No plot spoilers though. It could be jarring I suppose but I found it much too clever end enjoyable for that. ( )
1 vote clfisha | Dec 30, 2013 |
Oh -- my -- god. When I started reading this book I expected it to keep up the fairly light tone of the early chapters. Then it fucked with my heart bad. Don't believe reviews saying it makes no sense: it makes perfect sense, in the end, as long as you stop holding onto normal logic and start applying some dream logic. The narrator is unreliable, yeah, and he has attitude, and he knows he's telling a story, so there are bits that some people find irritating, like the way he keeps saying he'll tell us more about [whatever] later, if it's relevant. And I can understand that, but for me it's all part of who the narrator is.

I love the world built up here. The different neighbourhoods, the cats, the whys and wherefores of The City. I love the writing, because so much of it is painfully on the nose about trauma, about the demons we're capable of dreaming up. I love all of this more than I love the characters, really: I love it for what it has to say about trauma, about the way we think.

It's hard to talk about it without any spoilers, really. All I can say is that it comes together in the end, and you understand things in a heartbreaking rush, and it really is good. Weird, yes. But very good. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Apr 23, 2013 |
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For my family - David, Margaret and Tracey - and in memory of Mr. Cat
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Once there was a boy in a house.
You haven't seen untidiness until you've seen a room where gravity has failed twice in different directions.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553579703, Mass Market Paperback)

Only a handful of authors write with such startling originality that the uniqueness of their vision has become synonymous with their name. In Spares and One of Us, Michael Marshall Smith has earned that distinction. In this unsettling, suspenseful, and wildly imaginative novel he's written a tale that from page one hurtles us....

Call him Stark. If you have to. If you're lucky, you won't call him at all. Because if you do, it means you've got trouble. Big trouble. And the problem is that before Stark is done fixing something, a whole lot of other things usually get broken. Like laws and lives—and anyone who gets in the way. It's that attitude that's earned him his latest assignment: finding a missing VIP named Fell Alkland. The authorities believe Alkland has been kidnapped. Stark doesn't. He hasn't stayed alive this long without learning the basics of survival in a world hurtling straight to hell: Things are always more complicated than they seem. And when a job seems too easy, that's when something really ugly is about to happen. For Fell Alkland is about to become Stark's worst nightmare, a nightmare where anything can happen at any time—where friends can become enemies in a heartbeat and your most secret fear a soul-screaming reality. And the worst of it is that for this nightmare you don't even have to be asleep.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Only Forward, the debut novel from Michael Marshall Smith, follows the adventures of Stark and the strange world where he lives. A funny, tragic, baffling story that uses all the adjectives you can imagine and some you've never heard of.

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