(Immanion Press, £13.99, 271 pages, trade paperback, published
shouldn't happen to a vet. Alan Reece, human wreck, is called out one
night in late December to tend to a pregnant cow, but the calf is born
transparent. This is but the first in a global outbreak of transparent
births, and Alan finds himself at the centre of the oncoming apocalypse.
It's just him, his paranormal journalist housemate George, Kate the
psychic particle physicist, and the voices in Alan's head.
Oh, how this book wants to have been written by Douglas Adams. It's
trying so hard for that Hitch Hiker's vibe, from the one-scene
comedy aliens to the anthropomorphic glass of sherry that eyes its drinker
nervously and screams on the way down. Actually, it reminds me not a
little of that book about exploding sheep from a few years ago. It's
not a very bad book, it's just not a brilliant book either. The prologue
is terrible; the epilogue is surprisingly good; in between it averages
The story is relatively straightforward, once you prune away the comedy
digressions and the hanging about. An evil Crowley-esque magician has
found a way of surviving in the afterlife, and is hoovering up all the
souls he can to power his return to the material world. Alan and friends
have to find this out, work out how Alan's invisible calf and Kate's
particle accelerator fit in, and stop it from happening. Add the words
"knockabout caper" and you should have the measure of this
This isn't the first metaphysical comedy adventure book I've read this
year, so possibly it's arrived at the right time to take advantage of
a trend of some sort. However, "memorable" and "original"
are two words I can't, in all sincerity, use to describe it.