Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith (Books 2018, 28)
I think I’ve read this twice before, but as ever, my memories of it are not strong enough to support that thought. Doesn’t really matter. I read it years back and loved it. When I started it this time, at first I wasn’t so sure. It felt like it wasn’t living up to my memories. Maybe I was reading it for the wrong reasons.
But there can be no wrong reason to read a book. Just sometimes you’ve got to be in the right mood for a particular one; or it needs to be the right book for you at that time.
Luckily reading changes us. So we might be in the wrong mood at first, but the book brings us around. That’s what happened this time.
I wish MMS would go back to writing SF. I suppose his crime/horror fiction as Michael Marshall (the second-most transparent pseudonym in literary history) is more lucrative — and to be fair, maybe he enjoys it more, or just as much. But god, it feels like a loss to SF.
Anyway, this was a mighty debut, but thinking about it now, it’s actually more like magical realism than SF. There’s no attempt to explain Jeamland or how the narrator and others get to it.
“I can send you a postcard, but you can’t come to stay.”
“Everything you’ve done, everything you’ve seen, everything you’ve become, remains. You never can go back, only forward, and if you don’t bring the whole of yourself with you, you’ll never see the sun again.”