Few things compare to Machine Journey, a scifi poetry/flash-fiction piece by Richard Doyle. In a few words, it’s whimsical, eclectic, and very much reminded me of the Twilight Zone.
(Oh, and by the way, vlogs are back!)
It’s a very quick read, but one that demands attention, perhaps even a re-read to get the “meaning.” Truthfully, I’m not sure if I did divine one from this collection–it’s not so straightforward as some scifi selections “embrace humanity because machines sure won’t.” But at the same time, there are elements of the collection that seem to allude to that classic warning. But, I must be honest, I’m not usually much of a scifi reader so this is totally out of my zone in terms of content and theme.
What I like about this collection is how unique it is–I love the first poem where Doyle intermingles his own words with that of the famous Robert Frost. For one, if you are going to read this collection like a story, it sets the scene nicely: we’re sometime in the future, life as we know it is no more. For two, it’s perhaps the most poem-y of the bunch; even though it’s all one stanza, the lines are short, like you would expect; the punctuation is limited; it’s lyrical.
Doyle flips the script!
He switches to prose poetry… or flash fiction… I can’t quite tell which because the whole collection is very melodic, very descriptive, and very imaginative. The rest of the collection goes on as such, some very poem-y passages and some that are more like prose. Doyle plays with form, he plays with devices, like lists, and therefore keeps readers on their toes.
Simply put, it’s entertaining, and I like all the (sometimes pop) culture references. In addition to Frost, he alludes to Joseph Conrad, to museums, to history. Sprinkled throughout the collection are lovely little breadcrumbs of surprise that make this collection so utterly special that words are beginning to fail me.
So, to avoid rambling, let’s call it here. If you like scifi, if you like playful, unconventional poetry, if you like (super duper) short fiction, this is definitely something worth checking out.
Thank you again to Isabelle Kenyon for introducing me to such a fascinating piece, I love these blog tours! Be sure to look out for my review next week of Justin Courter’s The Heart of it All.