Review of Novahead in Foundation #112

My review of Steve Aylett's last Beerlight novel, Novahead, appears in the latest issue of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. Here's the opening:

"Novahead is the fourth novel in Steve Aylett’s 'Beerlight' series alongside The Crime Studio (1994), Atom (2000) and Slaughtermatic (1997) as well as select stories from the fiction collections Toxicology (1999) and Smithereens (2010). All are stand-alone narratives set in the dystopian, ├╝ber-absurdist Beerlight City, although Novahead features the same protagonist as Atom, an unhinged private investigator with a penchant for creative ultraviolence and anabolic proverbs in equal measure. On the front cover, Alan Moore calls Aylett '[t]he most original and most consciousness-altering living writer in the English language, not to mention one of the funniest.' By definition, book blurbs are hyperbolic marketing ploys, but in this case, Moore isn’t far off target. A fanatical satirist and provocateur, Aylett writes in multiple genres, usually simultaneously, combining elements of science fiction and fantasy with high comedy ('splattershtick') and a high literary aesthetic. As a result of his unique method of hybridization, Aylett has not garnered much of a readership beyond devotees in underground circles who tend to worship him like a bogie in the sky. He is simply too clever and grandiloquent for genre readers, and he’s too genre for literary readers, infusing his metanarratives with intricate networks of hi-tech and/or bizarre novums. In short, Aylett, as a stylist and storyteller, operates on a plateau that looms in the distance, ahead of his time, and Novahead achieves new heights of ingenuity, aesthetics and entertainment. Evidently it will be the last Beerlight novel according to the book description on the back cover. It is a fitting swan song to a series that, at the very least, artfully satirizes the technological pathology of the human condition as seen in real life, American media, and the history of the science fiction genre."