Mark Wernham - Martin Martin’s on the Other Side (2 stars)

(Jonathan Cape)

Mark Wernham


Comparing a book to A Clockwork Orange and 1984 in the press release is a risky tactic, and one which backfires on this underwhelming debut. In the near future, we’re in the company of Jensen Interceptor, a thick-headed drone at the government’s Security Department who spends his time guzzling drugs and watching porn. As Jensen goes undercover to investigate a cult based on Martin Martin – a TV psychic killed in the early 21st century – things get predictably out of control.

The main fault here is that unlike those classics mentioned earlier, there is no coherent lexicon invented, no sense of an engaging future world, rather our narrator is just a repetitive hapless moron, which makes spending time with him a real struggle. There are interesting ideas trying to break out – questions of identity, truth and government control – but it all gets dragged down by the irritating and unimaginative prose.


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