Simon Ings
Wolves Cover


Graham Vingoe

This book was a Giveaway by the publisher in return for an honest review. Well, Gollancz it was not quite what I expected and whether or not it can be classed as science fiction should be up to the individual reader's interpretation. For the casual reader of science fiction, you need to be warned that the sexual content is pretty explicit in places- it didn't necessarily shock me but , well it was certainly more than I initially expected.

The concept of augmented reality is handled well overall but it is not the central heart of the novel. There've been comparisons made with J G Ballard and William Gibson, but that's not the comparisons that come to mind- I felt there was more of an Iain Banks and/or Ian McEwan feel to much of the book- Subtract the AR elements and the book would be essentially unchanged- Frankly, the first 100 pages or so feature virtually nothing that could be classed as science-fictional with the possible exception of Conrad's wife's artificial hands(even then I may have read too much into it).

Simon Ings does have a beautiful turn of phrase in places but the ending does feel a bit rushed, and certain scenes(such as those in Poppy's House after her death) are hard to decipher- to me at least.

The fact that I read this at a time when large swathes of the South of England are underwater gave it a resonance which may have been completely unintentional, but ended up working to the benefit of the book as a whole.

It is NOT a perfect book by any means but this is a case where I would be interested to see what Ings does next- see his interview on SF Signal for a clue in that direction. I have struggled with an actual rating ever since I finished it, but, I think I'm comfortable with a 4 stars - at the end of the day, I've been thinking about the messages in the book for days now even whilst I've moved on to other books. On that level, then, I can only view it as a provocative, intelligent novel which I would recommend