Illuminations by Alan Moore – Extract Review

Thank you Bloomsbury for the advance extract of this collection

I’m a massive Alan Moore fan, having read most of his work, and was very excited when his short story collection was originally announced around 18 months ago. I pre-ordered it instantly, and am waiting for the publication day. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was also over the moon to be given the opportunity to read two of the short stories in advance. The extract I’ve read contains ‘Cold Reading’ and ‘The Improbably Complex High-Energy State’. Both stories are completely different and show the varied style of Moore’s work.

The first story is about a fake psychic, Ricky Sullivan, who is arranging an appointment with a potential client, or a ‘vessel of light’ as Ricky puts it. The story is from the first perspective, giving you an inner working of the con-man as he tries to justify to himself why he does the work he does, despite no belief in the supernatural. He explains one instance of a possible ghost sighting he had as a child, and dismisses it a reflection. There’s books on his table to impress clients, but he debunks the pictures inside. The story is quite short, but has a nice twist at the end. You know somethings coming, and everything builds throughout the story to the nice ending, even if the twist is a little obvious. The hints towards the twist are excellent.

The second story takes place in the first femtosecond (one millionth of one billionth of a second) of the universe, and is a bit more on the strange side. The story is an odd tale of the rise and fall of a brain dictator claiming to be a God, that takes place all within that first femtosecond. It’s funny and very strange, to say the least. The language is a lot more formal than with ‘Cold Reading’, and reads more like a history text book in places. Once you realise what the story is actually about it all comes together and I was completely on board by a quarter of the way through.

Together the two stories were just under sixty pages and I absolutely raced through both of them. They’re both completely different, and if this is anything to go by then the actual collection is going to cover all types of subjects and stories. Alan Moore’s short stories are just as great as his comics, and if you’ve been put off reading his prose after his mammoth of a novel, Jerusalem, then it’s still worth giving this collection a go. ‘Cold Reading’ is easy to read, with Ricky being a great character, and ‘The Improbably Complex High-Energy State’ is a great fun read as well once you get into it.

I immensely enjoyed the two stories, and can’t wait to read more of the collection in October. It’s always great to read new things from Moore. His stories are full of wonder, imagination and whimsy. After this there will also be the Long London quintet from Moore, starting in early 2024. That should be very exciting.

Illuminations is due to be published by Bloomsbury on 11th October 2022

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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2 Responses to Illuminations by Alan Moore – Extract Review

  1. I love that book cover, and the collection sounds intriguing indeed. Not familiar with Alan’s work but will definitely keep an eye out for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a really nice cover. I like the minimalist design. Most of his writing has been in the world of comics, with stuff like Watchmen and V for Vendetta, but has retired from comics as of a couple of years back.

      If the two stories I’ve read are anything to go by, then I think it will be a very good collection.

      Liked by 1 person

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