NESFA Members' Reviews


by Jeff Noon

Crown, ISBN 0-517-70490-0, 1996, 223pp, US$21

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1997 Evelyn C. Leeper

Like Lewis Carroll, Jeff Noon fills his story with puns and word play. Unlike Lewis Carroll, he tries to work in computers and industrial development. This is not entirely successful, and at times the conceit of computers giving their answers by having termites spell them out gets to be a bit annoying.

Noon is writing from a very different perspective than Carroll, and there is no chance of mistaking Noon's prose for Carroll's. In a sense this works against the novel, just as a Sherlock Holmes pastiche not done in Doyle's style seems to be missing something. And Noon is not as deft or as free with his logical puzzles and riddles as Carroll--but then, Carroll was a logician by trade.

If you're willing to accept this as a modern homage instead of a copy, and if you enjoy word play, you might find this worth a look. Whether it's worth buying in hardcover is questionable though.

%T      Automated Alice
%A      Jeff Noon
%C      New York
%D      1996
%I      Crown
%O      hardback, US$21
%G      ISBN 0-517-70490-0
%P      223pp
%S      3
%V      Alice

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