Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
The Paradox
Charlie Fletcher
Orbit, 386 pages

The Paradox
Charlie Fletcher
Charlie Fletcher began by studying an MA in English Literature at St Andrews, Scotland. From there he went on to work for the BBC before going to the University of Southern California School of Film and Television in Los Angeles to study screenwriting. He lived and worked in America for seven more years before returning to live in Scotland. Hee has written for TV, film and also done some journalism now and again, before turning his hand to write Stoneheart -- his first novel for children. Charlie Fletcher lives and writes in Edinburgh with his family.

Charlie Fletcher Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Oversight

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

'The shadow resolved into a man with hair plaited into long pigtails that hung beneath an ancient fore-and-aft hat decorated with limpet shells. His clothes were patched from rabbit fur and pinned in place with bones instead of buttons. And his face, as Lucy had somehow dreaded it might be, was scarified with a maze of dark ink.'
The Paradox is a direct continuation of the story begun in The Oversight. It's always a difficult balancing act, out on the high wire between the beginning of a tale and its end, but in this respect the author is a man without fear. Principally because what was set up in book one achieved a combination of momentum and magnitude bursting with possibilities. Yet the same could be said of other authors whose work is up to muster. What gives this sequence its edge is a one-two punch that blends concept and characterisation within a wholly convincing world. A place that might be, in some half-familiar elsewhere. Also of great importance is how the author invests his characters with life beyond the page, making them seem so much more natural, and therefore of greater substance than a standard fantasy cast. But does all this depth add weight, or serve only to drag the story down?

As with what passes for real life, the little things make a big difference. In The Paradox it's the interplay between the main players, in particular when there's a lull in the action. Touches of normal life and personality quirks, which make even Jed the dog a character worth caring about. Similarly, it's easy in this genre to paint the bad guys as no more than evil, inhuman critters, bent on destruction. Like in an old Western, where Native Americans were generally portrayed as a painted savages. Today, we know better, and it is this subtle sensibility that Charlie Fletcher brings to his take on the Sluagh. What we see of them in this book shows us behind their attitude and appearance. We also get to understand why they are this world's equivalent to terrorists, traversing what they think of as occupied territory. And with understanding comes a modicum of sympathy. Yes, the Sluagh are purists, and implacable foes of humankind. But not without reasons that some readers may agree with. Again, by letting us do more than glimpse the other side of the coin, the overall gravitas of the tale increases. Readers of The Oversight will be pleased to learn there is a fulsome explanation of the Disaster. The event which robbed the Oversight of so many members. We also get intriguing development of existing characters, the introduction of significant new players, and routes for future expansion. The hints given concerning events past -- and those yet to come -- both in Europe, and the new lands of America, are well judged. In particular being made aware of other groups made me feel as if the already fascinating world I was reading about might now expand over the hills and faraway.

The pages fly past loaded with tense action, moments of wry humour, a pinch of romance, and gentle lessons in the good and bad aspects of being human. It's a kind of literary antidote, easily superior to the over extended tripe of the Hobbit movies, and the endless bandwagon jumpers whose magic is less convincing than Sooty. The Paradox is the real deal, darkly dusted Dickensian counter-mythology at its very best.

Copyright © 2015 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide