Review: A.J. Conway – My Nova

My Nova
A.J. Conway
Dean Craver has never liked technology. The invention of ‘the Youth’ only serves to prove him right. Dean has to follow a non-nonsensical poem to try and work out what’s going on, but really he has no idea (nor does anyone else on the planet). My Nova is a sci-fi novel.
14421741Read on for my review, scroll down for some words from the author!
I have to admit that the front cover with its neat like poem form thing put me off reading the book. I didn’t understand what it was. It was not until I had read about half the book before I realised the significance of the front cover – indeed it was still a little confusing. But that was the point!
I turned to the first page of the story and was instantly rather confused. My first thought was ‘uh oh, I don’t think I’m going to like this book, I hope it’s not going to be a drag to read’. I then proceeded to get somewhat irritated with the author for using ‘rather’ a million time!
After that slow start, the storyline picked up. I’d say the first 50 or so pages didn’t do anything for me, but then I really got into the story as the action started happening. Indeed, I found it difficult to put down.
The idea of ‘the Youth’ sounded like a totally good idea /sarcasm/. It reminded me a bit of I-Robot, and a little of George Orwell’s 1984 in the potential that these ‘Young’ had to spy on their ‘parents’. The various equipment used to keep the elderly alive reminded me of the movie The Island as well. This novel is not a summation of those things though, the elements Conway has used have been blended into a different whole.
I’m sort of glad that this is a stand-alone book. If it was a trilogy, I would feel more like Dean might survive against all the odds, and I would feel less tension about the situations he finds himself in. Instead, I was compelled to keep reading because I thought he was going to die and lose Nova! Arg! It was gripping to the very end, and in the last 100 or so pages I had trouble concentrating on other things.

I was very unhappy with the ending though. It suddenly felt like the author had stopped editing her work, and that she had forgotten that Nova could talk. Well, that’s the way it read anyway. It was all too neat and dandy, and if some of those circumstances were true, then where the hell were they while the USA was going under? Take my advice, just stop reading it after that final showdown and you’ll feel much more satisfied.

I enjoyed the novel after my initial reservations. Dean was really quite a likeable character, although I felt like a little more background would have been nice. Those darn Carnies! Who would have thought drugging and drinking could lead to such a colourful end?
I found it interesting that the novel was set mainly in New Orleans. Coincidence that they had horrible floods when the levies broke there a couple of years ago? Perhaps. Conway is an Australian author, but I decided to just take her word for it that that was the way the police system and such worked. I can understand why she didn’t set it in Australia – we have too much wide open space for this to actually occur. I did feel a little confused as to whether the rest of the world still existed, and whether the moon mission was acceptable to all of them.
There are a couple of editing niggles that I picked up while reading – they might not bother other people, but they almost always throw me out of reading. There were some incorrect tenses, a couple of ‘it’s’ where there should have been ‘its’ and some typos. I would imagine that these will be improve if a second edition was printed.  All in all, pretty typical of a privately published novel, although editing in professional houses has become far less strict in recent days, much to my dismay.
It’s not clear to me why some technologies are functioning and others aren’t. The things that have artificial intelligence, such as the Youth and the robot digesters are still working, yet none of the other technology is. Perhaps because they were plugged into one main power source, and the Youth are separate entities? This is explained a little more later in the book, but I still felt confused.
I would have liked to see more deadline times for Dean, such as some brief statistics for how long he could survive without dialysis, even with charcoal tablets. As it was, that part of the novel created a impending sense of urgncy – Dean, the one guy who seems to have any chance of stopping the invasion, is dying by slow, vomiting inches. This bit was no doubt informed by Conway’s medical background.
I think it’s a little far to call this ‘the thinking person’s literature’. Yes, it’s a good read, but I wouldn’t have said it was good enough to replace a classic piece of literature like 1984 for apocalyptic scenarios. It’s an enjoyable read to be sure, but probably not a reread for me.
I’d recommend this book for adults, and teenagers. There is a fair bit of foul language, which I think just serves to remind the reader that this novel is a possible outcome of the way our society is developing. There also a large amount of wanton violence against robots and humans alike, so if you don’t like that, perhaps don’t read this book.

I received a free copy in return for an honest review, and was not monetarily compensated in any way for my time. My opinion has not been altered in any way by the provision of this free copy, or any of the correspondence I exchanged with the author.

Find it on:
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Or from the author’s website4star

The writer, AJ Conway, talking about  My Nova

 ‘My Nova’ was the first novel I ever wrote, originally thought up when I was 13. Eight years later and it still contains those fundamental child-like aspects of sci-fi that we all love: the grey, lifeless future, the narrowing of human contact with one another, and the god complex Mankind develops in response to artificial intelligent design. Despite reviews that place ‘My Nova’ on the same shelf as ‘I, Robot’ or Speilburg’s ‘AI’, its original inspiration was actually from the classic, ‘The Time Machine’, and a brief scene where the Moon was blown apart.
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