‘The Prince of The 400…’
The prolific Andy Gell is back with his third book inspired by the event ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’…
Be sure to follow Andy on Twitter.
‘Forever – Book 1’ – The Review
When I attended ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’ back in August 2017, I did not know what to expect. But that was part of the allure. However, one thing I did not expect to happen was for a creative community to be born. Another thing that was not expected, was that one member of The 400 would work on numerous inspired projects and that over a year later, I would still be reviewing them here. Yet, when you have the pleasure of meeting an individual like Andy Gell, you soon understand how all these things can become possible.
Andy’s first book was ‘Whatever’ – a stunning play that tells an alternative tale alongside the happenings of ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’ whilst taking inspiration from ‘The Illuminatus! Trilogy’ and exploring the number 23 in unbelievable depth. You can read a review of ‘Whatever’ here.
Then, as ‘Burn The Shard’ arrived, so did the sequel ‘Together’ – a crowd-sourced content novel that explored the happenings of November 23rd across the past, present and future. A highly abstract and experimental approach to writing that you are unlikely to find elsewhere. This book is heavy on KLF, JAMs, ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’ and ‘Burn The Shard’ references and probably would only appeal to that audience. Saying that, it is so unique and so wonderful, it really is an essential read. You can check out a review of ‘Together’ here.
So, what direction would Andy Gell take for his next book?
So far, he has not repeated styles.
So far, he has not played it safe.
So far, he has not sought to appeal to the masses.
Before we carry on, it is important to realise that ‘Forever’ initially appeared to be a third and final part to the ‘WTF’ trilogy, but as the release approached, we soon discovered that ‘Forever’ had become a trilogy within itself as we were only about to receive ‘Part 1’. A trilogy within a trilogy. Of course. Why didn’t we see that coming? How very Andy Gell! The trilogy now has 1 book (Whatever), 1 book (Together) and 3 books (Forever). That makes a total of ‘5’ books. Anybody who knows Andy or his previous work will appreciate the law of that number…
‘Forever – Book One’ is a novel! Yes, our author has visited the most traditional format for this outing. Weighing in at 155 pages, the final tome will be over an inch thick. As we delve into the pages we discover that this story is set in the year 2030 and is a sci-fi-space-opera-comedic-fantasy.
Stylistically, the way this work is written is possibly the biggest nod to The JAMs on this occasion. In many ways it is clear to see how the narrative tone is reflective of ‘2023’ yet it still has its own character and flavour throughout.
As I have enjoyed the works of Gell in recent times, I have been intrigued to see if he would venture beyond the realm of fan-fiction. I was therefore delighted to see that ‘Forever – Book One’ takes the reader in this direction. There were no guest appearances from members of The 400 or those in the world of The KLF. The majority of characters from our storyteller’s first two books are not present. There are references to elements of The KLF myth throughout the text but they are not delivered in a way that require previous reading or knowledge. All in all, this is a book that works as a standalone text (but I suspect that parts two and three will loop us back more deeply into the JAMsverse).
At the heart of this tale are a band – and not just any band – a monolith of a band – the biggest in the world. A mega concert is the event in the calendar that cannot be missed. Many characters float around this central point from sisters to religious figures, a van driver, astronauts and a professor. All play their vital roles as the grand gig is also accompanied by another significant space moment…
Around ‘Toxteth Day of The Dead’ a trailer hinted at ‘The Black Room’ – a KLF body of work that has never seen the light of day in a finished form. A ‘Black Room’ also appears in this text – and when it does, this is the point where the book shifts from literal to abstract and shows colourful imagination and ambition on the part of our author. In this context, exactly what ‘The Black Room’ may be is explored beyond the realms of a musical recording…
Chapter 5 – oh wow – Chapter 5. I adore this chapter! This is majestic. If you have ever wondered what the future of music may look like then glance here. If you have ever wondered what happens after MP3s and streaming, then you may find your answer here. If you have ever wondered how technology will progress for audio delivery, then this is the chapter for you.
As ‘Book One’ concludes after nine chapters, we find ourselves immersed in a journey that fuses a love of music, sci-fi, space, the human condition, technology, humour and far more. This novel is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish and proposes concepts and ideas that are thought provoking, potentially feasible and highly amusing. Yet again, Andy Gell has delivered another winner. His ability to adapt his writing styles is impressive. At the same time, he also manages to keep his unique flair and character in the words.
‘Forever – Book 1’ will make an ideal stocking filler for any fans of ‘Whatever’ and ‘Together’ but as it goes way beyond the realms of KLF fandom then anybody who is a music fan or sci-fi enthusiast should also get involved.
I’m already eagerly awaiting ‘Book 2’ and ‘Book 3’…