Mike French's Convergence was published by Elsewhen Press in a digital edition in October 2013. This novel will be published in paperback in December 2013.
Information about Mike French:
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, the first book of the Dandelion Trilogy, was published in 2011 and nominated for a Galaxy National Book Award which, presumably due to an unfortunate clerical error, was awarded to Dawn French. The second book in the trilogy, the satirical Blue Friday, was published in 2012 by Elsewhen Press who are publishing a new edition of the first. The third book, Convergence, was published this year.
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.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about Convergence:
"The story is everything. And everything will become the story."
Convergence concludes the powerful and inventive Speculative Fiction trilogy, The Dandelion Trilogy and follows on from the Arthur C. Clarke award nominated novel Blue Friday. It can also be read as a stand alone book.
Definition: Convergence Point - a lifetime's worth of memories contained within an infinitely small amount of time.
When the Convergence Project manages to record a Convergence Point, a shimmering orb is brought into being that expands out destroying the earth. Inside the Orb is paradise, a beautiful, sun-drenched, lush environment where humanity and nature fuse and beauty, love and hope are woven into the landscape...
The Convergence Project is a covert military/governmental science project that uses prisoners on death row to explore what happens to people as they die. The experience of life flashing before your eyes, just before death is a process called active retrieval where memories are being recalled and lived out again in the mind.
As the amount of time before death decreases the brain exponentially increases the speed of playback and starts looping: repeating over and over a lifetime's worth of memories. Each playback makes the memories stronger and retains more detail. Eventually an infinite playback speed is reached forming a memory singularity called a Convergence Point, where the ‘moment’ lasts for ever and the person effectively enters an afterlife of their own making.
Killing subjects by lethal injection within an enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging Core, brain activity can be imaged moments before the Convergence Point forms. The 'near' Convergence Points are downloaded into neutral clones which effectively decode the brain patterns back into memories. These Convergence Clones undergo psychoanalysis to try to gain an understanding of the death experience.
Featuring an extraordinary cast of characters and a labyrinthine plot that twists and turns, Convergence is unsettling, ambitious, lyrical and utterly gripping.
A REVIEW OF MIKE FRENCH'S CONVERGENCE
Mike French's Convergence is the third novel of The Dandelion Trilogy (the other novels are The Ascent of Isaac Steward and Blue Friday). It is as interesting and fascinating as its predecessors.
Before I write more about Convergence, I'll mention that it can be read as a standalone novel. However, it's possible that readers will get more out of it if they're familiar with the previous novels.
Now that I've read all the novels in The Dandelion Trilogy, I can say that this trilogy has been a most pleasant surprise. It's a delightfully different and imaginative trilogy in which several different elements are combined in interesting and unexpected ways. The novels in this trilogy are well written and intelligent speculative fiction novels with just the right amount of tension to keep readers turning pages as fast as they can to find out what happens at the end of each novel.
Convergence is a surprisingly imaginative, disturbing, chilling, addictive and also humorous science fiction novel. Just like its predecessors, it's something different - it differs greatly from other speculative fiction novels that are out there on the market.
Convergence is an intriguing story about a future world where things are different from what they are now. For example, The Vatican is situated in Kent and Belgians have spaceships. The author's vision of the future is both refreshingly original and unsettling.
I won't write much about the plot of Convergence, because this novel is so extraordinarily written and full of twists and turns that I might write too many spoilers. The Convergence process described in the synopsis plays an important part in this novel (this process is used to gather information from people and terrorists) and its consequences also play an important part.
One part of the plot involves President Reagan and his lover, Batsheba. These chapters are wonderfully creative and satirical. I also enjoyed reading about Pete and Durram, because the author created a weird and compelling love story that's anything, but normal.
The cast of characters is diverse and quite extraordinary, because the author writes about President Reagan, the Pope and other characters. Reading about Reagan was funny (I think that all readers will enjoy reading about him). I have to mention that it's fascinating how captivatingly the author writes about the AI system called Covenant.
Mike French combines several elements from science and technology to religion and politics in this novel. It's intriguing how well and fluently he binds all these elements together, because it isn't easy to write this kind of speculative fiction. The author combines new techonology, clones, dreams, hopes, lust, sex, politics, religion and violence in a surprisingly exhilarating and uninhibited way. In less capable hands this kind of a unique combination of different elements might have been a total disaster, but Mike French has succeeded in combining all the elements perfectly and has created an exciting and addictive story.
I loved the way Mike French wrote about the end of the world. His way of writing about the problem that the project created was genuinely fascinating. The orb/sphere that the reasearchers were unable to control seemed to swallow and devour the world and a new eden formed inside it. This kind of an end of the world feels very refreshing when compared to other kind of visions of the end of the world.
I like the author's prose and writing style. It's great that he effortlessly combines science fiction and modern literary prose (I've always liked good literary prose, so it was a pleasure to read his prose). One of the best things about his prose is that at times he's deliciously sharp and sarcastic and surprises his readers with unexpected happenings.
Mike French has created a surprisingly complex story that opens up bit by bit. I appreciate this kind of storytelling, because it shows that the author knows that readers have brains and they're capable of using them to figure things out.
Mike French writes boldly about sex. His descriptions of sex are among the most memorable descriptions ever in modern science fiction, because he describes things as they are and doesn't try to write about sex in a vague way. There are other authors who have also written boldly about sex, but Mike French's approach to sex feels fresh.
It's nice that the author has a quirky and twisted sense of humour, because it adds a cool touch of satire to the story. His humour is sharp, but also sophisticated.
Convergence may not be to everybody's liking, but I don't see any reason why it should be, because truly fascinating and original novels rarely are to everybody's liking. This novel is a totally different kind of a science fiction novel and that's a good thing, because not every novel has to be an almost exact clone of other novels. I have nothing against normal science fiction novels, but a bit weirder and more challenging novels like Convergence are pearls among pebbles, because they require more attention from the reader. Reading this kind of novels is rewarding.
If you want to read something totally different, enjoy reading good prose and love imaginative science fiction, you should consider reading Convergence, because it's all of these things and more. It's a partly surreal, but fulfilling reading experience that leaves you wondering how the author has come up with a story that's satirical, surreal and imaginative.
Excellent and imaginative science fiction!