Tuesday 1 March 2011

'0.4' by Mike Lancaster

0.40.4 by Mike Lancaster

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's a brave new world.
 'My name is Kyle Straker. And I don't exist anymore.'
 So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded onto old audiotapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax, but perhaps they contain the history of a past world....If what the tapes say is true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie.
 And if everything we know is a lie, does that mean that we are, too?
I absolutely loved the format of this book, told as transcripts from old cassette tapes, interspersed with notes about phrases or words in Kyle's narrative. The story is based in the distant future, when mankind is completely changed, but Kyle's recorded story tells what happened to him in the early 21st century. It is hilarious to see a note on the narrative in very formal tones speculating through quotes from serious academic texts on what a "teletubby" might be, or "reality TV". The chapters in the book are set out as "tape 1, side 1" etc, but this works so well, and cleverly increases the excitement when the next vital tense part of the story is cut off at the end of a tape.

Kyle is a teenage resident of a small village, where, along with his friend Lilly and two other adult members of the community, a very strange event takes place, setting off a string of weird happenings. They become a minority figure- the 0.4, and must leave everything they know behind. I really can't say more without spoilers!

I really enjoyed this book and was fascinated by the chilling idea of it. Although the events that Kyle is recalling are revealed gradually it is at just the right pace to keep you guessing and intrigued but are no point are you left wondering what is going on. This is a brilliant story, a very tense and creepy tale that will leave you wondering what is real!

View all my reviews


  1. I read this book a couple of weeks ago too and loved it. It's actually a very hard book to review without giving spoilers out isn't it? I know it took me forever trying to think what to write lol

  2. I've got to read this book soon. All the reviews are so positive, but yours is the first I've read that has said there is an edge of humour to it, so maybe that just depends on the reader :)

  3. Thanks Karen- it was your review of this that made me want to read it! I did really enjoy this book and would recommend it. It is only a short read. So difficult to write a review on it though! How do you say what you liked about this without giving anything away?!
    Kate- I think these sorts of things definitely depend on the reader- but those notes on Kyle's story just tickled my wierd sense of humour :-)
    Check this book out if you have time- it is good- honest!


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