Michael Marshall Smith’s surreal, groundbreaking, and award-winning debut which resonates with wild humour interlaced with dark recollections of an emotional minefield. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.
May we introduce you to Stark.
Oh, and by the way — good luck.
Stark is the private investigator who goes to work when Something Happens to you. And when a Something happens it’s no good chanting ‘go away go away go away’ and cowering in a corner, because a Something always comes from your darkest past and won’t be beaten until you face it. And that’s not easy in a city where reality is twisting and broken, a world in which friends can become enemies in a heartbeat — and where your most secret fear can become a soul-shredding reality.
And the worst of it is, for this nightmare you don’t even have to be asleep…
Considered a modern classic, and consistently featured in lists of Books To Read Before Your Head Explodes, ONLY FORWARD is a novel you'll never forget.
‘Smith delivers that rarest of commodities: a genuinely new twist with a punchline of CRYING GAME proportions’
‘A storytelling skill that can only be described as pure genius’
‘Very funny and decidedly surreal’ Empire
‘No one writes better than Smith about love: how it’s won, how it’s lost. No one writes better about being wasted – by drugs, by drink, by time. Nigh-on unique.’ i-D
"Extraordinary debut" Clive Barker
About the author
Smith lives in north London with his wife Paula, and is currently working on screenplays and his next book, while providing two cats with somewhere warm and comfortable to sit.
The dazzling pyrotechnics of British author Smith's last two future noir spectacles, Spares(under option to DreamWorks) and One of Us (under option to Warner Brothers), are prefigured in his promise-filled debut novel, a 1994 U.K. paperback original now seeing its first hardcover publication. Set in a stylized future City where individuals live in neighborhoods organically responsive to their moods and lifestyles, the story begins as a routine missing persons case for its narrator, Stark, an irreverent soft-boiled detective type who specializes in "finding people, or things." Stark's retrieval of Fell Alkland, a scientist who has fled the driven environment of Action Center for the placid Stable neighborhood, proves relativelyeasy. But pursuit by Action Center operatives and Alkland's crippling work-related nightmares force Stark and his quarry to escape to Jeamland, a collective repository of dreams and childhood memories that Stark appears to know very well, and to which, as he discovers only belatedly, he has been lured back deliberately. The genius of Smith's narrative is its casual revelation that the detective scenario and detailed elaborations of the City that pull the reader into the story are clue-filled set-ups for the real story of Stark's self-discovery in Jeamland. Ultimately, this requires chapters of explanatory exposition that slow down the finale and betray the awkwardness of a new writer growing into his skills. Nevertheless, the story blazes with a visionary intensity that fires its imagery and fuels its premise that "once you've gone forward, you can't go home again." FYI:Last year's mass market edition of this novel won the Philip K. Dick award for distinguished science fiction published as a paperback original in the U.S.
Customer ReviewsSee All
20 Years on, still my favourite book
I brought Only Forward as a teenager, based on the fact it had a really funky front cover. Little did I know that what I had purchased would remain by my side for 20 years, continuing to provide an escape into an ever nearing concept of our future. A mixture of action, sci fi and detective novel, with a large serving of philosophy (intended or not) this book is entertaining on so many levels. Though I own two original and well thumbed paperback copies I jumped into the present day and backed up with an iBooks purchase, and I would urge you to buy this book too!!
I have always hoped this would be made into a big screen film, as it easily has a storyline while would sell, but alas it hasn’t happed as yet. So why not let your own imagination create the film using the book as your guide. I continue to do this and in 20 years have yet to be disappointed.
If you're reading this review to try to make up your mind whether to buy thus book or not - you should!
Completely enchanting and very very funny right from the first page. The ideas in this book are astounding and could easily fill half a dozen books.
Just wonderful. It really is. Inception? Who needs it? THIS is the real deal
One of the best books I've ever read
Amazing book, clever, twist filled, delightful.