Mike French's Blue Friday was published as e-book by Elsewhen Press in September 2012. It will be published as a paperback edition in November 2012.
Here's information about the author:
Mike French is the owner and senior editor of the prestigious literary magazine, The View From Here which has been called many fine things since it started in 2007 including, "Attractive, informative, sparkling and useful" by Iain M. Banks and for having a "great passion and drive" by Booker shortlisted Tom McCarthy. Mike's debut novel, The Ascent of Isaac Steward came out in 2011 with Cauliay Publishing and was nominated for The Galaxy National Book Awards which due to an unfortunate clerical error was awarded to Dawn French.
Born in Cornwall in 1967, Mike spent his childhood flipping between England and Scotland with a few years in between in Singapore. Splitting his time between his own writing, editing the magazine, running author workshops and working with atp media in Luton, Mike is married with three children and a growing number of pets. He currently lives in Luton in the UK and when not working watches Formula 1, eats Ben & Jerry's Phish Food and listens to Noah and the Whale.
Here's a description of Blue Friday:
In the Britain of 2034 overtime for married couples is banned, there is enforced viewing of family television (much of it repeats of old shows from the sixties and seventies), monitored family meal-times and a coming of age where twenty-five year-olds are automatically assigned a spouse by the state computer if they have failed to marry. Only the Overtime Underground network resists.
Dystopian science fiction, Blue Friday tells of a future where many live in fear of the Family Protection Agency, a special police division enforcing the strict legislation that has been introduced to protect the family unit. Combining dark humour with a vision of the future that inverts the classic dystopian nightmare, this latest novel from Mike French follows in the tradition of great Speculative Fiction satirists such as Jonathan Swift. Thoughtful, while at the same time prompting a wry smile in the reader, it reverses the usual perception of a future regime driven by productivity and industrial output at the expense of family, demonstrating that the converse may be no better.
A REVIEW OF MIKE FRENCH'S BLUE FRIDAY
Mike French's Blue Friday is dystopian science fiction. It's a clever, shocking and darkly humorous story about a near future society in which society has gone too far to protect family values and family time. The author has managed to create a disturbing vision about a possible future where the state controls people and their lives.
Here's a bit of information about the society in Blue Friday:
The year is 2034. A person has to be married before the age of 25 or he/she will have to agree to an arranged marriage. Working overtime is illegal and if a person is found working overtime, the agents of the Family Protection Agency will take care of the workers. People have to watch re-runs of old family friendly TV shows. Although things have gone too far, there's hope for the people, because Leviticus, Covenant and the Overtime Underground Network help people to work overtime.
And here's a bit of information about the characters:
The main character is Trent aka Leviticus. He kills the previous Leviticus and becomes a hunted man. He and his girlfriend, Keturah, go into hiding and become almost like Adam and Eve. Trent secretly works against the state and their overtime policy. Covenant is a flirty computer/artificial intelligence. Covenant helps Trent and also causes tension between Trent and Keturah.
I found it interesting that Mike French wrote about a futuristic Adam and Eve situation in this book (Trent and Keturah can clearly be seen as modern Adam and Eve in a future society). This biblical situation is explored in an interesting way, because Trent and Keturah live in isolation.
It was also interesting that Mike French's previous book, The Ascent of Isaac Steward, was mentioned in this book. I haven't read it, but I think I'll read it soon, because I like the author's sense of humour and his sharp writing style.
In my opinion Mike French writes fluently and fascinatingly about a disturbing future society where people have to obey the state or they will suffer for their actions. The author's vision of the future is bleak, because people are totally controlled by the state and have almost no free will in several matters. Forced marriages, working strictly from nine to five and family friendly TV shows determine how people live their lives.
By writing about this kind of a society the author makes his readers question if they could live in a totally controlled society. I can mention that I couldn't live in a society where almost every important decision was made for me, could you?
What makes this book especially interesting is that Mike French blends reality and fantasy successfully. The events are fascinating in their weirdness and the author keeps things interesting by blurring the line between reality and fantasy.
I'm not sure if Men in Black and The Matrix have been an inspiration to Mike French, but it's very likely that they have been an inspiration to him, because the agents, Mr. Stone and Mr. Brittle reminded me a bit of the agents in Men in Black and The Matrix. (I think that other readers will agree with me on this, because it's almost impossible not to think of Men in Black and The Matrix when you read about the agents.)
George Orwell's 1984 can also be seen as a source of inspiration to the author. Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless) may have also been an inspiration to the author, because this book contains similar kind of writing style.
Blue Friday is a welcome addition to the dystopian science fiction genre. I'm sure that readers will find it interesting, because reading about a nightmarish future society is fascinating. Blue Friday is a fast and enjoyable read and it gives you something to think about.