The Truth About Sharks and Pigeons — Matt Phillips

There are links to buying this books from Amazon in either Kindle format or paperback format at the bottom of the post.

The Truth about Sharks and Pigeons by Matt Phillips.

Neither the book or the author have a Wikipedia page. Perhaps I should learn how to code Wikipedia nonsense? Idea for later.

Author bio in brief: Matt Phillips was born in the United Kingdom, read Anthropology at Cambridge, and then moved to New Zealand. This isn’t such a surprise, as The Truth about Sharks and Pigeons (hereforth referred to as The Truth) is set initially in the UK and then moves to New Zealand. Nifty.

“Wing B, did they enter Room IIB?” snapped Mr Gring, unable to keep the concern from his voice. “We are not sure, sir. There was quite a detonation, and it knocked out the cameras. We know that security was breached in a room in that area, we should know soon. It may have been IIB.” “Know soon, know soon?” Mr Gring seethed. “It may have been IIB? Good god, man, was it IIB or not IIB? That’s the bloody question!”

So, that’s pretty much how it goes. It’s not quite Douglas Adams, it’s not quite Terry Pratchett, but it’s getting there. The off-beat humour works, the surreal ideas play out, the characters are generally just setups for really bad puns.

Bill sat at a small pine table, the three chairs arranged around it were mismatched, one had a tear in the fabric cushion on the seat and the other had a tendency to collapse if you used it the wrong way. ‘Using it the wrong way’ included things like sitting in it. It had never been an issue, as in all his time at the flat Bill had never had more than a single guest. That was of course unless you counted the time he had been burgled.

Our progatonist (Bill Posters) is introduced to the truth by a pigeon spy. Teamed up with the incredibly well-trained Fern (upon whom he promptly develops a crush), they travel via science fiction device (it’s just simpler to leave it like that) to New Zealand to do battle with, well maybe it’s best to use a quote again:

On top of talking pigeons and Segway-riding sharks he now had a psychic link with a geriatric sheep.

The writing is solid, the pacing is pretty good, and whilst it doesn’t reach the lofty heights of Adams or Pratchett, it’s a decent effort. This is Phillips’ first full-length novel, and I’ll be looking forward to any follow-ups.

Bonus features: the edition read was the 8-month-and-4-day special anniversary edition. It came with Alternate Endings, Deleted Scenes, Bloopers and Outtakes, a soundtrack, and a very silly competition. I’m pretty certain everything other than the Deleted Scenes are just additional silliness. As with most deleted scenes, it’s best that they were deleted. At least this is a sign that there is a strong editor behind the scenes.

(As I was writing this, I was being criticised for writing too much. Apparently I’d lose people by this point. If you’re not reading this, turns out my critics are correct.)

The Kindle version: The paperback version:

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