Reviews

Macaque Attack

“Powell draws his characters with fine brushstrokes, imbuing his damaged cast with humanity so that you come to care about the fate of a host of secondary characters led by Captain Victoria Valois, whose love affair with the failing computer program of her ex-husband is sensitively observed. The ideas fizz off the page, too, with riffs on the nature of reality and quantum physics. And if that’s not enough, Powell threatens reality with the universal plague from his second novel, The Recollection, in a self-referential triumph of authorial legerdemain.” – The Guardian

“Ack-Ack Macaque is by far the coolest character in literature at the moment.” – Mass Movement Magazine

“Powell has delivered one of the most unique and exciting trilogies in recent years, and I applaud him for doing so. Highly recommended.” – SFFWorld

“Powell has created a vast, thoroughly original world that is so imaginative, emotionally engaging and frighteningly real that you don’t want to leave it. His characters – human, simian and, uh, other! – are beautifully crafted and written with a depth and sincerity that gives them life. This grounding keeps the story tight even when Powell plays fast and very loose with reality. Although Macaque Attack! focuses more on shock twists and action sequences than its predecessors, the setup has been handled so carefully that you’ll be primed for this gloriously entertaining pay-off. These books have brightened my year.” – Den Of Geek 

“With a name like Macaque Attack, you hardly need to look beyond the title to know you wanna read it. The third book in Gareth Powell’s Ack-Ack Macaque series closes out the steampunk sci-fi trilogy with some serious primate drama.” – Barnes & Noble

“Viewed as a standalone Macaque Attack is a good book, but as part of a trilogy I reckon that it’s damn near perfect. Well played Mr Powell, well played. This is the best send off for the monkey I could ever have hoped for. Great well rounded characters, tons of action, a wonderful plot and just the right amount of simian shenanigans to keep the reader hooked.” – The Eloquent Page

“A hard drinking, gun totin’, foul mouthed monkey is a gloriously silly character, but yet again Powell has managed to write an engaging, entertaining and thoughtful book around him.” – The Cult Den

“Just when I thought he could not make this series any more epic he changes the game in such a way that it left me punching the air and swearing. Yes that good.” – Jane Hanmer on Goodreads

“If you’ve read this far you are hoping that Powell can pull off a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy with all the trademark explosions and monkey action. Well fear not, he does, with verve, with a few surprising twists and with all the humour and thought-provoking plot you’ve come to expect.” – Bristol Books Blog

“I find it amazing how Gareth Powell took a fairly ridiculous premise, that of a cigar-chomping macaque fighting in WWII and turned it into a three book cyberpunk epic featuring parallel worlds and things of that nature. What could have been a hilarious novella about an ass-kicking simian morphed into a fantastic trilogy featuring such heady topics as quantum physics, nanotechnology, virtual reality, and what it means to be alive.” – Dangerous Dan’s Book Blog

“What Powell does here is take his relatively cute concept of a mouthy, violent, anti-hero Monkey and turn it into a deep and rich scifi epic.” – Matt Zitron on Goodreads

“A lot smarter, and deeper, than a casual glance might suggest … The whole trilogy will, I hope, become a future classic.” – Joanne Hall, author of The Art of Forgetting

 

Hive Monkey

“Ack-Ack is an inspired creation, a monkey with attitude, issues and a hole where his heart should be, and his latest deftly plotted adventure is riotous fun.” – The Guardian

Hive Monkey is a highly enjoyable romp with page-turning action spread over forty chapters and has an enjoyable penchant for the surprising narrative twist.” – Interzone

“Genius.” – Adam Roberts, Sibilant Fricative

“Great world, great character, great style, all put together with a decent plot and some nice background characters… Great SF has never been so hairy.” – Morpheus Tales

Hive Monkey is a thoroughly immersive rollicking good read, uniquely blending steampunk themes with alternative history, mixed with a liberal dose of wry humour, pathos, and throw away lines that make the Mayhem Monkey rule in every sense of the word. This is a five-star read. Don’t miss it!” The Wry Writer

“This book, and this series, is just such sheer unadulterated fun. Gareth Powell’s first-class writing entertains on every single page. You’d be a bally fool to miss out.” – The Eloquent Page

“10/10 “Introspective moments are set against a background of explosions, swearing, more explosions, shoot-outs, a spitfire chase along the M4 corridor, more swearing, yet more explosions…. Hit after hit after hit, until the reader is left breathless, reeling slightly and in severe need of a banana daiquiri.” – Fantasy Faction

“5/5 This is totally winning Steampunk novel of the year.” Book N Tech

“Gareth L Powell has managed once again to deliver a novel that blows expectations out of the water… Highly recommended.” – SFFWorld

“If you’re simply looking for a fun adventure with some bizarre yet compelling characters, then this book is for you. If however, you’re looking for something with a little more depth to it, a sci-fi novel that’s more than what it seems, then this is also the book for you. Whether it be an exploration of our perceptions or simply a fun shoot-em-up, Powell has managed to find the balance between thoughtful existentialism and pulp adventure.” Gutenberg’s Son

“A reminder of just how effective a tool everyone’s favourite foul-mouthed, cigar-smoking, Spitfire-flying, gun-toting primate is for exploring the interface between humanity and technology that used to be the domain of cyberpunk. […] One of the striking things about ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’ was how it played with Dickian science fiction tropes to undermine the stability of its fictional world. When Ack-Ack Macaque is rescued from an immersive virtual world only to find himself in a zeppelin-filled alternate history in which France and the UK formed a political union in the 1950s, the seasoned SF writer can’t help wondering if the reality of that world is about to be stripped away, too. Like the world Michael Moorcock sets up in ‘The Final Programme’, the world of ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’ is solid enough to support the story but fragile enough to induce a healthy paranoia in the reader. ‘Hive Monkey’ continues this tradition by introducing multiple alternate realities and the ability to travel between them, a very Moorcockian notion. One of the alternate realities is even suggested to contain a world where France and the UK didn’t unite, and jet travel developed and overtook zeppelins. This is very reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s ‘The Man In The High Castle’, and the tricks Dick uses to insinuate that neither of the worlds in his novel are our world. However like in the previous book, Powell uses this to create a quite effective underlying sense of unease. Adding to the layers of confusion and realities is the presence of William Cole, a struggling, drug addled science fiction writer wracked with grief in the mold of Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout. Paul, Victoria’s dead husband digitally uploaded into the airship’s computers, enthuses about Cole being a combination of Ballard, Dick and Chandler, but Cole sees himself as a washed up hack churning out generic product and dreams of writing respected literary fiction. While Cole allows Powell to engage in some good natured, self deprecating ribbing of the public image of SF writers, and kick starts the overall plot, he also plays a deeper thematic role. Alternate universes are compelling because they allow us to ask questions about how things could have turned out differently. How much of our current situation is set in stone, dictated by our character, our outlook, our perspective, and how much is it mutable, depending on the whim of chance? This is the question asked about our world at large in any alternate history, but William Cole allows Powell to bring it back down to a personal level […] William Cole’s relationship with his double is mirrored by Ack-Ack Macaque’s relationship to the Leader, an alternate universe version of himself who becomes the head of a multi-dimensional cult intent on colonising different timelines. ‘Hive Monkey’ really delves into the sadness and loneliness that is at the core of Ack-Ack’s character, and Ack-Ack is confronted with this directly in the form of the Leader. As a character, he is already bitter and cynical, so it’s easy to see how this could be twisted into the megalomania of the Leader. But ultimately, Ack-Ack realises that he does have a family, in the shape of Victoria, Paul and K8. The Leader is Ack-Ack deprived of his family, a worst self whose tragedy echoes that of William Cole’s. ” – Golden Apples Of The West

“So, Hive Monkey, it’s a rollicking, madcap sci-fi adventure story, it’s a thoughtful novel and it’s got a monkey with a gun. What’s not to love?” – The Cult Den

“You know how sequels are generally inferior to the original? Thankfully, Hive Monkey defies that unfortunate stereotype with two loaded Colts!” – Dangerous Dan’s Book Blog

“A thrilling amusement park-ride that grabs you by the collar almost from page one and never lets go.” – Fortress of Solitude

“The second book in Gareth L. Powell’s pulp-inspired series is every bit as sharp and energetic as the first, and very possibly even more gleefully crazy in terms of plot! I found the first book to be great fun, and this follow-up certainly doesn’t drop that ball. If anything, Powell punts it higher…” – Over The Effing Rainbow

“Hive Monkey is a brilliant sequel… Make sure you don’t miss these amazing books.” – The Book Plank

Ack-Ack Macaque

“Arguably the greatest title of all time.” – Joe Hill, author of Horns and Heart-Shaped Box

“I can’t remember the last time that I had so much fun reading a novel … Ack-Ack Macaque is over-the top and action-packed with an ending that is both exciting and ultimately satisfying. Gareth L. Powell has crafted a crisply written, engrossing and very entertaining novel.” – The Qwillery

“Powell primes an explosive narrative with brilliant cliffhangers and brings the lot to a satisfying conclusion.” – The Guardian

“Ridiculously readable, thoroughly entertaining, and packed full of ideas.” SFFWorld

“Any book that makes me grin like a buffoon whenever I crack it open is a definite winner. Full of great characters, fast moving plot and lashings of first-rate action, I can’t recommend this highly enough. I didn’t just like this, I loved it.” – The Eloquent Page

“Often there comes a novel that seeks to break all genre conventions and delivers on an experience so amazing, with a story so out of the blue that it just leaves you wondering how on earth the author came up with such a cool idea. Ack-Ack-Macaque is one such novel.” – The Founding Fields

“Seriously entertaining … Gracefully balances action and politics to make for a novel that is all the richer for being so multi-layered.” – Adventures In Sci-fi Publishing

“What is most pleasing about this book is that what could have been a self-conscious, one-joke tossoff is in fact a smart and impressively layered actioner. Powell presents popular culture, particularly video games and tabloid celebrity worship (especially the UK version of the latter, where, unlike in the States, at least the objects of such public adulation really are royalty), as the unlikely medium through which social change and revolution emerge. And by indulging in the most iconic tropes of pop culture entertainment — structurally, the narrative bears more than a passing resemblance to some classic Bond films — Powell pays them loving homage. The whole thing is just a blast. The smile the title puts on your face will stay there throughout.” – SF Reviews.Net

“Powell is showing his prowess, and fast becoming a master storyteller.” – The Wry Writer

“I enjoyed this book immensely. It can be read as pure entertainment, a combination of pulp fiction and cyberpunk, but beneath all that it addresses the issues of freedom and choice, life and death … Gareth L. Powell has, with this book, gone onto my list of favourite sci-fi authors …  if you like William Gibson or Philip K. Dick, then Ack-Ack Macaque is a sometimes surreal, yet very worthy read.” – Fantasy Faction

“Amazing … 9.8 out of 10.” – Fantasy Book Review

“A justly celebrated book, innovative, filled with excitement, eminently readable.” – Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of Shadows Of The Apt

“Ridiculously readable, thoroughly entertaining, and packed full of ideas that make great sci-fi.” SFFWorld.com

“Ack-Ack Macaque, by Gareth L. Powell, is, without a doubt, one of the best reads I’ve enjoyed in a long, long time. This superbly plotted and thoroughly immersive story with its well-drawn characters, page-turning intrigue, clever plot twists—never mind, several neat surprises I never saw coming—will have you chugging back the coffee way into the wee small hours of night.” – Alexandra Wolfe.

“I think this book was a work of genius and the author has clearly got a great imagination which he shows us through the whole book in a number of ways, I’m giving this book a 10.” – Out Of The Box Media

“More fun than a barrel of steampunk monkeys … It’s an over-the-top, verbally caffeinated adventure story with smart, nasty ideas and plenty of pulp. What makes it truly special is Ack-Ack, the action hero who can cut through any strategy session or infodump.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Powerful, intelligent, filled with ideas, clever touches and brilliant characters. Powell has hit his stride, and produced a steampunk SF novel that delivers.” – Morpheus Tales

“An action-adventure plot that pulls you right along.” – Steampunk Magazine

“I also admit that when reading a novel written from several perspectives, there is a temptation to skip over the more boring of narrators. Fortunately, this was not a problem while reading Ack-Ack Macaque, because while the protagonists share a crucial similarity (I won’t spoil what it is), each individual voice is unique and equally fascinating. There is, in fact, never a moment you want to skip ahead, because every turn of the page may present an unexpected twist or take you somewhere new, and often that somewhere is about to be blown up. Which brings me to my next thought on the writing: The action. Is is brilliant. It is powerful, fluid, and intense. … Ack-Ack Macaque is a highly readable book that moves at a remarkable pace, yet maintains a level of complexity to satisfy readers of more serious Science Fiction. If you are looking for an entertaining read, one that is engaging, effectively written, and just damned good fun, go pick up Ack-Ack Macaque today.” Parallaxed Journal

“A great feat of creativeness and originality.” – The Book Plank

“Defies to you try and pigeonhole or categorise it … Good vs Evil done proper – with one hell of a hero, and some seriously original twists.” – Read It Daddy

“I thought that Powell’s previous novel, The Recollection, was one of the best things I’d read in ages, and Ack-Ack Macaque, though different in tone, is easily as good. It’s the most fun I’ve had with a novel in quite a long time and you need to read it too, trust me.” – Dave Hutchinson

“A staple of any science fiction novel is to explore what it means to be human and, whilst Ack-Ack Macaque never beats the reader over the head with philosophy it does ask questions about death and the nature of personality. The debate is there for those who want to see it, and those who don’t can just read a rip-roaring yarn about a cigar smoking monkey with a bad attitude.” – GEEKChocolate

 

The Recollection

“Powell’s second novel [The Recollection] is not only impeccably structured, with a series of cliff-hangers, but beautifully balanced between big ideas and the smaller-scale human story. If you read only one space opera this year, it’s got to be The Recollection.”  – The Guardian

The Recollection is a seriously impressive novel, any fan of space opera or even just science fiction will love this book; here Gareth L Powell joins the ranks of Reynolds, Banks, Hamilton and others at the forefront of science fiction.” – SF Book Reviews

“Stunning, fresh and exciting, great adventure, elegantly strung together.” – SFReviews.Com

The Recollection is not Powell’s first novel (that would be Silversands, 2010), but it reads like a bid to join the big leagues, with big themes, a big setting, and the option to continue to do big things with the setup. Even if it proves not to be the first of a sequence, it is a promising entry in the cosmic-issues / space-opera / alien-encounter field.” – Locus

“Like M. John Harrison, but without the crushing sense of despair and ennui.” – Philip Reeve

“Fast-paced, laser-focused, and steadfastly accessible.” – The Speculative Scotsman

“The scale and shape of Powell’s universe is astounding, the story is an enjoyable romp and the characters are lively and fully fledged believable people. Gareth L Powell is a name to watch in the future of SF.” – Theresa Derwin’s Terror Tree

“Gareth L Powell has got it just right … The Recollection is a joy to read.” – Geek Chocolate

“If you’re into sci-fi on any level, I honestly think this will be one book that you’ll be telling everyone about for a long time to come.” – Mass Movement Magazine

[The Recollection] engages its warp drives right from the get-go and never slows down. – Eclectic Authors

“The three threads of the story are woven together masterfully, resulting in a snowballing pace and a seamless transition when worlds and times collide. When the climax arrives, the reader is well and truly strapped in for a fight of epic proportions. So, if you like your Sci-Fi bursting with ideas, packed full of adventure and seasoned with a healthy dose of time-travel, sentient spaceships and nanotech – The Recollection is for you.” – Eclectic Authors

“Gareth L Powell is going to be a major voice in SF.” – Paul Cornell

 

Silversands

“Powell’s first novel [Silversands] is a fine hi-tech romp” – The Guardian

“Powell is a master …  Silversands is an excellent debut.” – Interzone

“A clever and, at times, brilliant novel. Powell is definitely an author to watch.” – Morpheus Tales

“Silversands sits proudly on my bookshelf with other acclaimed genre authors (Dick, Bradbury, Baxter, Banks etc)… And you know, Gareth L. Powell doesn’t look out of place amongst them.” – Matt FW Curran

Silversands is a worthy addition to any devoted SF reader’s library.” – Suite 101

“[Silversands] gripped me by the collar and wouldn’t let go… I really did enjoy this novel. It was fun, but not silly. The characters were strong, the plot engaging, and the writing well beyond competent. But the real triumph, I feel, is the world that Powell has created. A universe with humanity scattered across the stars by unreliable FTL travel is one that has a lot of potential, particularly with the developments at the end of the story. I hope that Powell returns to this universe at some point, and it would be a real shame if some of the characters from Silversands didn’t get a second appearance.” – Matthew S. Dent

“Gareth L Powell has delivered a great novel in a very interesting setting … Silversands is a satisfying and enjoyable read … Powell make the most of his characters and backdrop to tell a page-turning story.” – Walker of Worlds


The Last Reef and Other Stories

“In The Last Reef, Powell holds a cross-section of science, nature, and technology in his quintessential human hand and gives it a roll across the universal table. What turns up is an eclectic mix of possibility, tragedy, and hope—a gamble worth betting on… Powell’s depth and breadth of characterization work, and his settings are truly impressive. His work displays a willingness to show truths and flaws for what they are, rather than gratuitously exaggerating only strengths. With his instinct for subtlety, Powell is an author to watch. His work is the spyglass of science fiction, the ship just over the horizon.” – The Fix

“Sunsets and Hamburgers by Gareth Lyn Powell is an excellent far-future apocalypse with an immediately grabbing opening and a grandly successful denouement. Told episodically in numbered diary entries, the story combines a hatful of familiar SF-nal conceits such as: suspended animation, galactic “drift,” the end of the universe, the extinction of the human race, genetic engineering, forced breeding. That all of this and more is accomplished in a short-short – without sacrificing character depth or world-building – is just amazing. Powell’s narrative voice is precise, giving needed details, sparing superfluous digressions, lengthy exposition, or wooden dialogue. In fact, “Sunsets and Hamburgers” moves so quickly and so effectively toward its profound and unforgettable climax that it is easy to forget that this little gem of a science-fiction story has more concepts invested in it than many door-stopper sci-fi novels. Simply a magnificent short-short, one which I wholeheartedly give my highest recommendation.” – SFReader.com

The Last Reef was the best and most exciting short story SF collection in recent years.” – Muskets and Monsters

“Neatly collected for the first time, Gareth L Powell’s short stories quickly invoke a different kind of science fiction, one that is far removed from the likes of Arthur C. Clarke or other “hard sci-fi” contemporaries. Replacing the cold vacuum of space with dusty vistas, seedy bars, and realities closely resembling our own, Powell instead rallies around his skill at succinctly developing detailed and believable characters. In this respect the anthology is equally a treatise on both characterization and its exploration of the bizarre. Certainly, The Last Reef is a triumph of identifiable, realistic protagonists. There is of course the typical tech-noir genre fare: weather-beaten archaeologists, cyber-upgraded hackers, homicidal ex-cops et al but each remains accessible and believable. Structurally centred around several sign-posted stories (concerning the titular Last Reef) involving the odd reoccurring character, Powell’s stories run the gamut from far-flung space adventures (Six Lights off Green Scar) to near-future takes on internet viral-culture (Ack Ack Macaque). The writing is imbued with a faint longing melancholy yet varied in narrative style and arrangement, supporting each new world as it comes whilst keeping things fresh, tangible and fascinating. Reasonably priced at just over a fiver, I can’t recommend it enough.” – Prism

“In total the book [The Last Reef] contains fifteen of his short stories and there is not a dud amongst them. Buy this book and do your brain a favour; you know it will love you for it.” – Sci-Fi Online

“These are powerful stories of real people having to deal with real emotions.” – Vector

“There’s more imagination crammed into these pages than you’ll find in an average sci-fi novel from a mainstream publisher. And it’s not just his imagination either. Powell is a bloody good writer. His prose is lyrical and drips with vivid description, slipped into the text so it never feels like the rhythm of the writing is bogged down. It does mean that prose is economical but evokes more in one sentence of description than I’ve seen in a paragraph from more seasoned writers.”Muskets and Monsters

“Without question, what all the stories [in The Last Reef] definitely do have in common is a memorable quality – you’ll be thinking about them for a long time afterwards. These are stories that engage both the heart and the brain… Elastic Press has performed a public service in collecting them together.” – Interzone

Powell shares with Clarke and Stapleton a sense of humanity’s insignificance in the universe … but Powell is as reminiscent of J.G. Ballard as of Clarke — from the moment when the narrator embraces his infected wife in ‘A Necklace of Ivy,’ to the rising waters and fleets of refugee container ships of ‘Flotsam,’ echoing Ballard’s The Drowned World and his visions of drained swimming pools and abandoned Cape Canaveral … But unlike Ballard, whose protagonists were cold, damaged men, Powell’s heroes turn and face their catastrophes prompted by love or a sense of what’s right — duty, to use an unfashionable word. At their best Powell’s stories fuse the traditional ideas driven British-fiction with detailed characterization, and action. – Colin Harvey, author of Damage Time

 

Miscellaneous Short Fiction

“There is an almost Ballardian sense of fragmentation and despair in this well-written tale, which artfully utilizes technological imagery to build tension in the setting and refract the character’s inner selves. An impressive feat given the space, this riveting piece transcends “flash” and approaches a less formalized version of the Ballardian “compressed novel,” in the best possible manner.” – The Fix

“Gareth L. Powell and Aliette de Bodard have been consistently impressive Interzone contributors in recent years so it is no surprise their collaboration on ‘The Church of Accelerated Redemption’ yields rich and original insights into the lonely and disaffected life of a computer engineer. The tension arises when unexpected events offer the chance of change. A neatly crafted story of AI and human possibility.” – Interzone

“Red Lights, and Rain – This story you guys, this story was just plain, unadulterated fun. Yes, there are some deeper themes to it, but what comes to mind most is how fun it is. It’s Buffy meets Dexter set in Amsterdam. Enhanced super soldier from the future, a time travelling bounty hunter, and an ending that leaves you considering whether you misread the entire story the first time.” – A Fantastical Librarian

“Now, we’re getting into the stories I set out wanting to read… First of these is Gareth L. Powell’s “Red Lights, and Rain”. This one mixes SF with vampire-hunting, but these vampires are (seriously) unlike any I’ve read about previously. Even for a classic monster that’s made instead of being born, this twist on them is a pleasingly fresh one. Not to mention pretty unsettling, as a concept… If you’re at all hooked by that idea, then get your hands on this story and see what I mean for yourself. Thoroughly recommended.” – Over The Effing Rainbow

“When expanding to the short story length GLP displays the same ability to deliver a taut tale with all the elements. You have cyberpunk, hardboiled action, and tales of weird alien incursions in the near future with people on the run in a lot of cases… Powell is definitely my sort of writer, it would seem.” – Not Free SF Reader

“The story with the most original and intriguing name is one of the biggest highlights of the collection.  “What Would Nicolas Cage Have Done?” by Gareth L Powell ends the entire world through a freak accident with nanotech computer builders and random chance saves one man from Bristol to decide who will repopulate the earth with him. The tie in to Nicolas Cage’s movie, It Could Happen to You, was both unexpected and brilliantly played out.” – Suite101

“Author Gareth Lyn Powell gives us The Last Reef, and manages, via a powerful torrent of invention, to imbue a myriad of ideas more in tune with a novel than a short story… with clever flashbacks throughout that dovetail inexorably toward the ending. Accompanied by a brilliant illustration, The Last Reef is a fabulous read indeed.” – Horrorscope

“Next up is the delightfully-named ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’ by Gareth Lyn Powell. The author plays with the idea of what happens when the Fourth Wall between the protagonists of the tale and their fictional creation collapses. The mechanism chosen for this catastrophe is clever enough to be plausible without too much technobabble being required and Powell manages to pull the thing off remarkably well in what is basically a humorous, lightweight tale. There’s also a very British (ie gloomy) love story going on in the background, as well as some decent satirical swipes at what happens to characters in comic novels when Hollywood decides to turn them into cash-cows. All in all, a fun story and one of the best in this particular issue of Interzone.” – SF Crowsnest

““Ack-Ack Macaque” is a weird, sad story about a man’s relationship with a woman who writes a web-based anime series about a monkey airship pilot, named, of course, Ack-Ack Macaque. She leaves him for a guy who wants to promote the comic – and he tries to commit suicide. And Ack-Ack Macaque begins to change too – or perhaps come to life. The tone is best here – the protagonist’s flaky despair is beautifully caught.” – Locus

“The commercialisation of a web animation into some diseased Max Headroom as metaphor for the wreckage of a fucked-up relationship. It’s about two things: the people, and the idea. Just the way sf should work.” – Warren Ellis

“The minor stylistic flourish of making the story feel upbeat is what ultimately makes it feel so intensely rewarding… Surprisingly thoughtful and emotionally intense, “Ack-Ack Macaque” is a lovely piece of work that is vaguely reminiscent of Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s End of The World Blues. This was easily the issue’s stand-out story as far as I’m concerned. Yes, it is that good.” – SF Diplomat

“While there’s more than a hint of gritty post-apocalyptic cyberpunk scenery, Powell’s characters are drawn with the believable motives and real human flaws that stories of this ilk often lack… While I feel there’s still plenty of room for the more playful material that Stross and Doctrow have made their trademark, stories like “The Last Reef” bring a welcome breeze of empathy to the proceedings by humanising the technological experience instead of technologising the human experience.” – Paul Graham Raven

Gareth L. Powell’s ‘The Bigger The Star, The Faster It Burns’ possesses a strong magnetic pull. It’s enigmatic and mysterious, because it develops on two levels as stated in the story’s foreword. I have to praise Powell’s ability to imitate the inertia of life, the sort of ‘there-is-nothing-here-to-piece-as-plot’ storytelling, which accumulates to some hidden meaning.” – Rise Reviews