Charlie Robot is a popular book here at The Book Reviewers, so we were interested to see how Benedict J. Martin’s next novel would live up to expectations, especially as he treads very different ground this time.

Whereas Charlie Robot is a humorous sci-fi novel about a man pretending to be an android, Planet Purgatory is about a farmer, David Eno, who lives with his parents and his revenant dog on a bizarre alien planet, except David believes that they are actually living in purgatory. In terms of imagination and ambition, it beats Charlie Robot hands down, and that’s before I even mention the zombies, whales and witches.

While it is a departure from his previous novel, once again Martin manages to captivate the reader right from the outset. The characters are all familiar enough to make you feel close to them, but each has their own strange, other-worldly quirks that give the book such character and intrigue.

To analyse it, it sounds crazy (whales that are angels, revenants, an alien colony that may or may not actually be purgatory), but somehow Martin has woven it all together with something magical so that it doesn’t feel at all absurd when you’re reading it – it just works. The deceptively simple language manages to conjur up vivid images, and the pictures at the end of each chapter really seem to reflect the characters that Martin etches into your mind.

The only drawback to the book was that I wanted it to be so much longer, but as Martin is currently working on a sequel I think I can forgive him! I’m definitely looking forward to the next instalment and indeed Martin’s future works in general.

Buy the book here
Length: 158 pages