Memory Seed by Stephen Palmer

Perpetual Man

Tim James
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Well… it is not a reflection on this book that it has taken me such a long time to read. It is down to me that it has taken so long…

However this is a dark book and in some ways it is really hard to read. Centred on the city of Kray on an Earth where it might just be the last city; a crumbling conurbation that is seeing humanity pay the price for its sins. Here vegetation and the environment close in on the last scraps of human life and try and wring it mercilessly from the face of the planet they have all but destroyed.

Palmer manages to convey this with superb detail, the very atmosphere of the book is oppressive, you can almost feel the green closing in on the walls and buildings, tearing them down with slow, methodical purpose. This is not the last best hope of humanity, it is the final crushing of a parasite under nature’s heel.

It seems rather ominous yet honest that in all of this man still cannot come to terms with what is happening. There are still factions, still religions that bicker and fight over their beliefs and way of life even as those very existences are extinguished.

In some ways this book reminds me of Gormenghast, perhaps even a reflection of Peake’s novel, there it is the castle that is decaying with the wider world thriving; here the cleansed world is closing in.

Palmer manages to embellish things. His always inventive creations, in particular the organic technology, that grows almost plant-like seems plausible and alien at the same time. His society works well, almost exclusively female, they are the dominant sex, men reduced to propagators and toys, except in one case.

But for me the central element of this was the final days of a dominant species that has screwed up, and continues screwing up despite the planet taking back what belongs to it. There really is the feel of inexorable inevitability as the city reaches its final days, a level close to despair as those last few lives struggle to do just that, to live. The last few chapters blur by in a frenetic race for survival, something that seems so desperate so futile that as each life is ticked off it seems obvious that nothing can save the species.

It really becomes evident of what kind of talent Palmer possesses though, when he lets go of the darkness and embraces the light of a new day, capturing the feel of heady summer days and a world born fresh and new. With it he delivers something else that is perhaps, one of the most important attributes in a book like this: hope.

The book came with a few DVD like extras in the form of two short stories set in the same world. Both are well written, giving a deeper look at the world and the way things work there and are highly entertaining as well.

Palmer’s work is not going to be for everybody, but if you persevere, appreciate his imagination and descriptive prowess it is most certainly rewarding.
 

Stephen Palmer

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Nice review, thanks. I've been toying with the idea of trying Stephen's work, and this may nudge to do so. One problem is that I can only buy from limited suppliers here in NZ, and his books tend to be on the dear side.
You may have to toy with the idea of getting an e-reader; all my stuff except Urbis Morpheos is now available from Infinity Plus. Even I, Luddite that I am, am considering a Kindle or something of the sort...
 

Perpetual Man

Tim James
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Nice review, thanks. I've been toying with the idea of trying Stephen's work, and this may nudge to do so. One problem is that I can only buy from limited suppliers here in NZ, and his books tend to be on the dear side.
He is well worth a read, I've read this and Urbis Morpheos and enjoyed them both. (And I have a few more sitting on the virtual to-read pile)

You may have to toy with the idea of getting an e-reader; all my stuff except Urbis Morpheos is now available from Infinity Plus. Even I, Luddite that I am, am considering a Kindle or something of the sort...
I was going to mention the e-reader thing. I know that they are not to everyone's taste but they are becoming more and more dominant, and the Kindle Fire I have been using is well worth the effort as it is quite a good little tablet too.

There are also apps that do the job - if you are talking about Kindle - for the android O/S and Windows that will happily run on a PC. I'm guessing that there are Apps for Apple too. And I'd imagine the other e-readers have their own versions of apps.
 

HareBrain

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I didn't realise there were sequels -- the ending of MS seemed fairly rounded off to me. Exciting!

Glass (I love the ebook cover of, er, a bat throwing a pike) is clearly set in the same world, and looks like it might throw some light on questions unanswered by MS. Is Flowercrash also set there, or just similar in theme?
 

Perpetual Man

Tim James
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I feel as though my thread as been hijacked and turned into an advertising feature. :D

And I just noticed that one of these unscrupulous promoters has the same name as the author. What a coincidence.

(They are damn fine books though)
 

Danny McG

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I was going to buy Memory Seed after reading this thread, ironically (given the book's title) I found I already have it in my TBR pile but had forgotten about it.
Can't even remember buying it, faint memories from about three years ago - possibly!

All I gotta do now is remember to read it, should be okay as long as no more books arrive from Amazon in the meantime and distract me :D
 
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