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Friday Indie Review: Wednesdaymeter by Dean Carby

Let’s get weird for a second.

One of the great beauties in indie publishing is that authors can carry strange ideas to places that traditional publishing simply won’t go.  I’ve reviewed some extreme books on this site, books with unique premises and twists on our standard speculative-fiction fare.

All of these books seem pretty normal when held up next to Wednesdaymeter.  I am relatively certain that, prior to sitting at his keyboard for any given drafting session, Dean Carby dropped a whole bunch of acid.  If, at some point during the writing of this book, the phrase “well, I really want to get some writing done but first I need to score some more LSD” wasn’t uttered, I am shocked.  This book is just weird.

Magic comes from eating plant matter and wasted time.  Thus, fruits and vegetables are strictly controlled.  Entire companies are set up for the purpose of wasting their employee’s time in order to power the magic of the people running the company.  What’s more, sentient polygons have brought in a kind of police state to the whole world.  Yes, I said sentient polygons.  The whole thing feels like Office Space and Dilbert if they had been written by Terry Pratchett.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, and fortunately someone let the drugs wear off before doing the editing.  The prose is good and clean, and the individual scenes are very well-written, with one flaw.

There is one hell of a learning curve to this book.  The first chapter tries really, really hard to introduce the reader to the magic system with a little action scene.  The problem we have is that it’s making this introduction through the eyes of an experienced plant user, who doesn’t really feel the need to tell us why all this works.  Sitting down and figuring out what the hell is going on in this book is a steep, steep challenge, and it takes a lot of slow reading and putting things into place.  When you are this far out on the limb, you really need a story device to coax the reader out there with you.

This is where the book falls down.

So, Wednesdaymeter is good, but not great.  If it had gently slid me into this world, I would be telling you this is one of the best indie books I’ve read.  Instead, I get the feeling that the author is assuming I’ll drop acid before I read the book.  Maybe that would make it easier, I’m not sure.  Not having any LSD around, I won’t be finding out anytime soon.  Still, if you like things on the weird edge of indie publishing, then I say it’s still worth jumping off that edge and reading Wednesdaymeter.