|A review by Miranda S Givings|
This is a unique book which doesn't fit into any obvious category. Part science fiction, part love story, part philosophical thriller, Dead Forever is as much about the exploration of inner, as outer space. Rarely has an author tackled the question of reincarnation and explored the nature of consciousness and memory in such an unusual and imaginative way. We follow the hero on an action packed, rollercoaster ride in which his sense of identity is tested to breaking point and beyond. Along the way, he discovers the horror of being 'dead forever' and realises what it means to be truly alive with the woman of his dreams!
The author has a rare gift for story telling which carries the reader along page after page. But this book is much more than an unusual adventure story. William Campbell has the knack of making the reader feel the bewilderment and confusion of his hero as he is wrenched from one bizarre encounter to the next, and is equally at home describing the problems of repairing space ships with the power of thought, as he is the complex philosophy of alternate realities.
Dead Forever could well be taken as a metaphor for our times. Like the hero, many of us have no clear idea of who we are, why we're here, or what the hell it all means — if anything at all. The idea that this world is an illusion, from which we must awaken in order to discover our real home and our true purpose, is not a new one. The concept has recently been dusted down and given new expression in such films as The Matrix.
What makes Dead Forever so compelling is the fresh way in which these concepts are explored and the everyday language with which the author develops his theme of 'life in death'. We all have memories of being someone else, of living somewhere else, even if these are no more than vague impressions that occasionally disturb our waking consciousness with their tantalising suggestions. At its simplest we call this 'deja vu'; at its most complex we may claim to have lived before. Some may even claim that the earth and all it contains is nothing more than a gigantic stage play managed by a Cosmic Playwright for purposes we cannot even guess at. Arthur C Clarke and Douglas Adams have both explored this idea from two very different directions. William Campbell has given these concepts a completely new and imaginative twist in this remarkable trilogy which will delight and inspire the discerning reader.
Make no mistake, Dead Forever is a unique book that challenges our ideas of reality and illusion and offers some remarkable insights into who and what we may be. To read it is both a delight and an inspiration. This is not a book that is going to sink quietly into oblivion.