Reviews - The Long Sleep
- Category: Reviews
- Published: Monday, 11 July 2016 17:57
- Written by Ellen
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Here are some of my favourite reviews for The Long Sleep. I've linked the titles to the locations where they were originally published. These reviews came from before I transitioned and so refer to my old name.
The Long Sleep is a cross between a noir detective story and science-fiction, a private eye story set in the future, if you will, with a Big Gulp of suspense thrown in.
The author is a good friend of mine, and I’ve read his YA sci-fi novel in manuscript (and loved it). So I suppose I’m not entirely biased, but I think my bias for Stephen was offset by my bias against self-published books.
And indeed, as I started reading, my bias against was definitely the stronger one. I found myself reading it like I read manuscripts for my critique group — noting the extra words and awkward language (though there wasn’t a lot of either).
But about a third of the way through the book, I realized I had forgotten where it came from, and I was reading it as a reader. I was involved emotionally with the characters, and I had to know how it ended. In fact, I raced through the last half, carrying it with me everywhere I went and thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading.
The Long Sleep is about the search to discover who sabotaged a colony ship — but because the ship left earth 30 years earlier and exploded in the atmosphere over the new planet five years before the message arrived on earth, the clues are a bit cold.
Still, soon as Lize Carr (youngest member of the ruling Executive Committee) and private detective Kem Logan begin investigating, they find themselves struggling just to survive. Someone clearly has something to hide, despite the years that have passed. The story takes some fascinating turns before … well, I can’t tell you that.
In the end, what I care about — whether we’re discussing Joan Didion, Stephanie Myers, or something self-published — is the story. Do I feel for the characters? Do I care how it ends? And most importantly, do I think about the book after I turn the last page? When it comes to The Long Sleep, the answers are Yes, Yes, and Yes.
A Twist You Won't See Coming
This is a good science fiction story but is also a well-written mystery. A crime has been committed, but space travel takes years and the crime is 30 years old before anyone knows about it and the evidence is on a planet 30 years travel away. Try that one for a thorough investigation.
I enjoyed this as I've enjoyed many of the old scifi classics. Add a touch of gender politics for originality and multiple layers along with some appropriately futuristic technology and especially innovative uses for AI. The bulk of the story involves the mystery so the space travel aspect is primarily a backdrop, but the story flows nicely and the characters are well-defined. The reader gets some interesting insights into the minds of specific characters and how they react to 'unusual' situations which gives the story real depth.
I suspect everyone will have their own favourite character but for me it was Julia, a very clever AI. Mellor does a good job of making the unbelievable believable and working the advanced technology into the storyline. It's a good strong 4 stars plus for me.
The Long Sleep by Stephen Mellor
I'm looking forward to other books by Stephen. I really enjoyed the Long Sleep. Wasn't sure that I would as I'm not really a huge sci fi fan. I like Dr Who but that's my limit! But it wasn't that sci fi. It was a detective story set in the future. I got straight into it and couldn't put it down. A reall enjoyable easy read with a bit of oomph too!
More Than A Sci-Fi
I didn't think much of this story to begin with. The author relied too much on dialogue to set the scene. I thought a bit of explanation would have helped me adjust to his world. I thought maybe 3 stars then. But it got better - 4 stars by chapter 5, and once I was deep in, a definite 5 stars. My only regret is that I didn't buy the paperback - I still prefer paperbacks.
A great Sci-fi/detective/thriller, with a twist in Ch 18 that puts the story way above most books of this genre.
Very good indeed. Recommended - to anyone, not just to Sci-fi readers.
Engaging Sci-Fi Detective Story
Stephen Mellor's "The Long Sleep" is a science-fiction detective novel, and combines some of the best features of those two genres.
For sci-fi fans, there are many classic genre conventions to be found: colony ships, arcologies, artificial intelligence, holographic avatars, neural jacks and virtual reality. But these are handled without resorting to impenetrable technobabble, and are presented with such a deft touch that you quickly accept them as just a part of the world in which you're being immersed.
As for the detective side of things, Kem Logan is a classic private dick in the Chandler mode, right down to the sassy, drop dead gorgeous secretary (even if she does happen to be an AI). More importantly though, Mellor doesn't fall into the trap of thinking that "hard-boiled" or "noir" necessarily has to equal a hostile and unpleasant protagonist. If anything, the central characters of "The Long Sleep" are nuanced, believable and likeable. Apart from the villains of the piece, obviously -- those characters are just as twisted and irredeemable as you would want them to be.
The plot is engaging and contains some great twists, working in genuinely unexpected plot elements (themes of gender identity playing a surprising part in the story). Perhaps most significantly, the writer's style is engaging, making this one of those books where you always want to read just one more chapter to find out what happens next.
An enjoyable read with a highly satisfactory denouement and conclusion, "The Long Sleep" tells a tight, compelling story and is an excellent addition to the field of sci-fi/crime novels.
The Long Sleep is definitely not a sleeper!
This science fiction novel is strong on the science element and VERY creative! The only reason I don't give it a perfect five is the occasional formatting or grammar error. They aren't sufficient to detract from a reader being drawn into the consciousness--maybe even the body--of a favorite character. It's one of those stories where you have to shake yourself periodically to be certain you haven't crossed the line from bystander to participant. And I would not want to go through the hell inflicted by the bad guys.
It's not all violence, though; there is plenty of futuristic gadgets and some very twenty-first century issues--especially the socio-economic classes and the powers of the super-rich.
The story begins when space travelers are awakened from a thirty-year sleep to begin the colonization of Gamma Six. Everything has worked as planned until the passengers are ready to disembark; then the ship explodes. The rest of the book takes us along with the private investigator, Kem, a guy we might all hire for the job, and his employer, Executive Lize Carr, to discover what happened. Whatever it was, there are powerful forces working to ensure the secret is kept.
The story's focus is less on the mystery than on what it takes to survive when a madman rules the planet.
A Twist You'll Never See Coming
The Long Sleep starts with a scene which is familiar to many people who read science fiction. A colony ship awakens out of cryo-stasis and gazes down at the blue orb of a brand new world. At the end of that scene, instead of the colonists descending to the surface to explore this brave new world, the entire ship is barely able to send out a distress call before it's ripped to shreds.
This isn't a spoiler, because it's in the description.
Back on Earth, we're presented with a dystopian future where the world is run by the Executive Council. Lize Carr, the youngest member of the Council (and step-daughter to the man in charge of it all) wants an investigation into the sabotage of the colony ship, but she's stymied at every turn. Instead, she enlists the help of private detective Kem Logan to figure out what happened.
For the first third-to-half of the novel, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was sort of a moderately-paced detective yarn set in the future for no discernible reason. My biggest concern with The Long Sleep is that the initial investigation seems so routine that I'm worried that some readers might put it down before the twist happens.
Don't do that.
For spoilery reasons, I won't go into exactly what the moment was when I realized that this was not the detective novel I thought it was. Instead, it's a science-fictional examination of human psychology wrapped in a detective novel. I won't go into exactly what aspects of psychology are covered (because it's spoileriffic) but just to say that once that twist happens, The Long Sleep suddenly finds its feet and rockets toward a fascinating (and satisfying) ending.
If you enjoy reading science fiction for reasons more than spaceships and lasers (which are more than enough for anyone, am I right?), if you're the type of reader who loves to see characters and worlds react to technology and power far beyond our current grasp and to explore the dark sides of technology while still being entertained by a pretty solid noir detective yarn, you really should read The Long Sleep. Don't let the first few chapters fool you. This is a truly fascinating story.
On the technical side, I found that the book was very cleanly edited (with only a few minor typos throughout). The prose was very readable and rarely distracting.
When I read a book, I look for it to surprise me. I want to be truly taken aback by the turn of events, because frankly, I've become a little jaded when it comes to fiction. I've begun to be able to see through the veneer of formula and trope, and I don't like to be bored. The Long Sleep was genuinely surprising, and for that I must congratulate Mr. Mellor on a job well done.
The only thing that kept this book from reaching five stars was that I felt the opening chapters could have used something -- and to be honest, I'm not sure exactly what -- to draw the reader more deeply into the mystery before the defining moment occurs. That aside, this is a truly entertaining read with a twist you'll never see coming.
Great sci-fi and detective novel
I love science fiction and read enough about this book to intrigue me so I purchased the Kindle edition. This is an extraordinary work, a combination of sci-fi and detective genres with some kinky twists thrown in. Frankly I am surprised that the author, Stephen Mellor, only has this one book on the Amazon site. He is a superlative author. I hope to look for more of his work in the future.
My only complaint was that the Kindle type was way too small to be readable so I had to increase the type size whenever I wanted to look at this book. If you are interested in the Kindle edition, I would suggest that you try a free sample to see if this would hamper your enjoyment of this work. I am seriously considering purchasing the paperback edition as well.
If you like science fiction or detective fiction and can handle a few surprises, this novel is higly recommended.
A strong and believable tale
"The Long Sleep," by Stephen Mellor is a little like a car that's a "crossover vehicle," one that is built on a automobile platform and combining features of a SUV with those of a passenger car. It's a book sitting on a sci-fi chassis, featuring a detective story against the backdrop of a forced gender swap. The author does an excellent job with this strong and believable tale set several hundred years into the future. This is a time of the beginnings of space travel to distant stars, a droid police force, "AI" humanoid beings and a wealth of scientific projections from a very creative and fertile mind. However, after all these years the basic and fundamental character of the human race hasn't changed one iota. There are still power corrupted and antisocial despots running the world while the populace acts like sheep, with the exception of one brave young woman and the male detective she hires to investigate the cause of the explosion that ripped apart a star cruiser, just as it was about to reach its final destination after a thirty-year journey. Was it sabotage and if so, why?
A quick and enjoyable read
The long Sleep by Stephen Mellor is a well written action packed sci-fi thriller. It is on the "softer" side of hard science fiction. It is hard science fiction in that it does contain many futuristic elements, Artificially intelligent computer programs, space travel, the entire population living inside an enclosed city and an experimental body swap. However the book does not devote much time to attempting any explanations of how these things have been achieved. Instead it is much more plot and story driven. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and felt the author did a great job of introducing the elements without distracting from the plot.
What is it like? I'd have to say it reads like an "old school" science fiction book; Isaac Asimov, Harry Harrison, etc. It was a quick and enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend The Long Sleep to anyone who likes sci-fi stories.
Minor spoiler: the body swap.
At one point in the story the main character finds themselves not only in a different body, but a different gender as well. As a transgender woman I have a love / hate relationship with this particular plot device. For most of my life before transition I was obsessed with every sci-fi or fantasy reference to changing genders. Now many of them strike me as extremely stereotyped and shallow.
The Long Sleep however does an extremely good job with this. The main character is male and finds himself in a female body. Instead of delving into classic male fantasy however, the book describes the challenges of his transition quite well and comes fairly close to capturing how it feels to be in the wrong body.