Tim Major's Machineries of Mercy was published by ChiZine Publications in October 2018.

Information about Tim Major:

Tim Major’s novels and novellas include You Don’t Belong Here (Snowbooks, 2016), Blighters (Abaddon, 2016), and Carus & Mitch (Omnium Gatherum, 2015). His short stories have appeared in Interzone, Not One of Us, The Literary Hatchet, and numerous anthologies. Tim is co-editor of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction journal, BFS Horizons, and blogs at www.cosycatastrophes.wordpress.com.

Information about Machineries of Mercy:

It's a beautiful day in the village of Touchstone.
The birds are singing. Everyone is happy.
Everyone except Ethan.
The England he knows is broken and dangerous.
But perhaps Touchstone is more dangerous still.


Tim Major's Machineries of Mercy is a fascinating and intriguingly unsettling young adult science fiction novel that takes place in the near future. It is the author's first novel for young adult readers and it's a real keeper due to its thrilling story.

The author has stated that this novel is "a little like a YA Westworld combined with John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos". I agree with this statement, because it encapsulates what kind of a novel Machineries of Mercy is and what you can expect from it. The elements inspired by Westworld and John Wyndham's novel work well and the author uses them in an excellent way.

What makes Machineries of Mercy like Westwood is that the teenagers of this novel find themselves in a virtual reality simulation of a northern English village. In Westwood, the virtual reality is a holiday destination, but in this novel it's a prison. The influence of John Wyndham can also be seen clearly in this novel, because the residents of the village behave oddly.

Machineries of Mercy tells of Ethan who ends up in the village of Touchstone after helping his friend Lex break into Mercy HQ to get evidence of what Mercy has done to people. Touchstone is a special place, because it looks like a normal English village, but is actually a prison. It's a simulated environment in which Ethan and other teenagers have to live and go to school...

The author writes fluently about what happens to Ethan and what Lex does after Ethan has been sent to prison. By focusing on both characters and switching between them, the author creates a fascinating story that reveals what kind of a dystopian place the near future England has become. The author also reveals interesting things about the village of Touchstone and the computer simulation.

The author's vision of the justice process and prison system is chilling. He writes about what happens when everything connected to the justice and punishment system is outsourced and sentencing people becomes easy and fast. In this novel, a company called Mercy deals with criminals in an effective, but questionable and harsh way.

Tim Major is a talented author who writes excellent fiction. His first foray into YA science fiction is successful and exciting. His fast-paced storytelling and gripping story will keep young adults - and also older readers - mesmerised by the happenings. He writes fluent prose and his story flows in an effortless and entertaining way.

I enjoyed this novel and found it intriguing, because it's something different. The author has come up with a good story that is genuinely worth reading and differs nicely from other similar kind of YA sci-fi novels. In my opinion, this novel is head and shoulders above other novels of its kind due to its good story and lack of forced plot twists which often plague way too many YA novels.

Tim Major's Machineries of Mercy is an entertaining and thought-provoking glimpse into life in an English village and life in the near future where sentencing and punishing people has become easy and fast. If you're in need of something exciting and fast-paced to read, you should seriously consider reading this YA novel.

Excellent YA science fiction!

Discuss this article in the forums (0 replies).