The world is stranger than you think; it's defiantly strange
inside Mat Coward's head. His new book, So Far, So Near,
is full of dead ghosts, bizarre office eating rituals and
the answer to where all the time travellers went.
of the seventeen short stories is told with wit and insight,
full of idiosyncratic humour. One of the really nice things
about the book is that at the end of every story Coward has
written a little piece, often about his own perspective on
the story, an interesting insight
into the writer's mind.
One of the things that you do as a reviewer is research the
author - thank god for the Internet. When looking for information
about Coward I found a page, which stated:
Coward writes mostly for the British, so my guess is that
he lives in England. He probably has a keen sense of humour,
since some of his writing veers in that direction.
I mention this, as this was pretty much all that was on the
page making it both delightfully uninformative and quirky.
I suspect that such an oddity would indeed appeal to Coward's
It would be difficult to pick a story that stands above all
the rest. Even some of the stories written at the beginning
of Coward's career still show an immense eye for detail and
plot construction. Though the range of subjects includes horror
and detective, for the most part the stories are science fiction
- often with a philosophical or political bent. Coward does
not shy away from his own political leanings, but never lets
this get in the way of telling a good yarn. And yes, I can
confirm that he does indeed have a "keen sense of humour".
I have to say at this point how impressed I have been with
the collection of books coming out of Elastic Press; so far,
every one that I've reviewed has been a gem. Any fan of sci-fi
or just good writing would do well to check out their present
and back catalogue, including So Near, So Far.
Running to a little over two hundred pages So Far, So Near
is a good valued steal, at this price.