Sweet ‘n’ Sour books from… the future

Each S&S post features one feel-good book and its blurb, and one in a crime fiction genre. Today’s books, for a change, are both – loosely-speaking – science fiction, one being a real chiller and the other definitely more feel-good. Set in the future? Read them and see…

Sweet: Chocky, by John Wyndham

Matthew’s parents are worried. At eleven, he’s much too old to have an imaginary friend, yet they find him talking to and arguing with a presence that even he admits is not physically there. This presence – Chocky – causes Matthew to ask difficult questions and say startling things: he speaks of complex mathematics and mocks human progress. Then, when Matthew does something incredible, it seems there is more than the imaginary about Chocky. Which is when others become interested and ask questions of their own: who is Chocky? And what could it want with an eleven-year-old boy?

I love this book – the way the fantastic events occur around normal, daily, family life makes you wonder if this really could happen – and maybe it could. But Chocky is a very benign being who only wants the best for Matthew. It’s an odd book to put a date on; you can tell by the technology that it was written and set in the past, but – Chocky? Aliens?? Let’s hope all that’s a long time in the future.
Right up there with the best John Wyndham books.

Sour: Tipping Point, by Terry Tyler

Year 2024. New social networking site Private Life bursts onto the scene. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.
A deadly virus is spreading—fast, and the UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made – and that Private Life might not be as private as it claims.
When the virus is detected in Vicky Keating’s home town of Shipden, the Norfolk town is placed under military controlled quarantine – but within days the virus is unstoppable.
As the country descends into chaos, there are scores to be settled further north….

News of an unstoppable virus is only too common nowadays, but this one is much, much deadlier than our corona. We can be glad. Tipping Point is the first of Terry Tyler’s Project Renova novels, which I race through as soon as they come out. Vicky and her family could be you or me and our kids. Would we find the same determination to survive as they do in the book? Maybe when the absolute worst happens, we find that grit from somewhere, because there’s no other choice. Something to think about…

This is the last of the Sweet ‘n’ Sour posts for the moment, though I may bring them back next year. Meantime, watch out for more bookish posts and author guest posts. With social life restricted as it is, we’ll all have plenty of time for reading this winter. Stay safe, everyone.

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