The Ships of Aleph

June 6, 2015 - 8:55 am No Comments

THE SHIPS OF ALEPH by Jaine Fenn
Tower of Chaos Press / 42 pgs / £0.99 eBook /
Reviewed by Carol Goodwin

http://www.towerofchaospress.com/2015/03/the-ships-of-aleph-jaine-fenn/
Ships of Aleph

If you are going to start a new small publishing company, then it is vital to produce a quality product from the start and this novella is certainly that. Tower of Chaos Press are a small independent publisher, run by Dave Weddell (Jaine Fenn’s partner) and THE SHIPS OF ALEPH is its first publication. It aims to produce mainly short stories and novellas, initially mainly by Jaine Fenn. THE SHIPS OF ALEPH was originally published as a limited edition chapbook for Novacon 42, when Jaine Fenn was Guest of Honour. It is now being made available as an eBook by Tower of Chaos Press.
A natural phase for children is the “Why?” stage, when they want to know the answer to everything about the world and how it works. Most people grow out of it but some adults retain that curiosity, not least among them many SF writers and readers. THE SHIPS OF ALEPH is a tale of that sort of curiosity and how far you would be prepared to go in pursuit of knowledge and truth. It is a science fiction story although it may not seem so at first. The narrator, Lachin grows up in a small fishing village. His enquiring mind and a lame leg leave him isolated from his peers. When the Duke announces a project to build a ship to explore the seas, Lachin is eager to join despite the prevalent mood that it is ungodly and thus doomed to failure. Thrown into the sea when the ship founders at the edge of the world he wakes up seemingly back in his home village although he is the only inhabitant. From there he faces a series of choices all of which involve remaining in his current state of knowledge or risking the unknown and ultimately a chance at another exploratory journey unimaginable to his earlier self.
I really enjoyed this story. The pace is quite gentle but keeps the reader interested. The characterisation of Lachin, as one would expect of Jaine Fenn’s work is excellent and he is a very believable and sympathetic character. Considerable attention has been paid to the structure of the story with the theme of journeys both spatial and intellectual integrated really well without detracting from the actual narrative – not an easy thing and one many authors don’t always manage satisfactorily. Although the story fits into Jaine Fenn’s SF Hidden Empires series, the story still works even without an awareness of these. As a final incentive to buy it also has a superb piece of blue-toned cover art by David A Hardy. CG
(Kindly donated by Tower of Chaos Press)

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