Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts

DATE PUBLISHED: 2009 DATE READ: November 2009 NOTES: Heard this book referred to as “the best Science Fiction book of the year and worthy of the Booker Prize” – or words to that effect. Although no sci-fi aficionado I was intrigued…. Yellow Blue Tibia only loosely falls into the science fiction genre. It is in essence an alternative history of the Soviet Union. Konstantin Skvorecky and a group of fellow writers are brought together by Stalin and tasked with constructing a convincing alien plot. It had to be a serious threat that could be told to the people. After working cooperatively on this they were then told to forget all they had done there on pain of death and were sent on their different ways. Years later when Skvorecky is working as a translator strange things begin to happen – and it seems that the story concocted by sci-fi writers appears to be coming true. The strength of the book lies in its humour and quirky dialogue while at the same time raising questions of truth, belief and and reality. He raises the need for an enemy or a serious threat in order to galvanise the population – very prescient in a world of dodgy dossiers and alleged weapons of mass destructions. My favourite scene was when Konstantin is confronted in a Moscow street by two KGB men threatening to kill him. Passers-by think that something is about to be sold and begin to form a queue hoping that there may be oranges or vodka on offer!

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