Hilltop Press, 2007 £1.99 - www.booksmusicfilmstv.com/HilltopPress.htm
Cryonics—the deep-freezing of human bodies until some future release: it could be a metaphor but Jimmie Dickie, a science fiction enthusiast, takes the subject and holds it up to the light, giving us different angles. So we get monologues from Throm, the icekeeper whose task is to maintain the freezerful of bodies awaiting their thawing out, and individual narratives from the frozen dreamers as they recall their past and contemplate the present journey, suspended in space and time. Interspersed with these are poems from ‘The Book of Lights’ (a text by various hands, including those left behind). It’s an intriguing subject, opening up a new world, with new images, for example:
When I mouth sweet things
They dance on my tongue
Like the aurora borealis.
That’s fresh and immediate. Equally “Nor dare we converse in the winter months./ The cold would skull our mouths for ever” captures the subzero world; I could feel the horror of this cold.
These poems are an imaginative leap, exploring the urge to be immortal and giving a glimpse into new ideas. They are let down by the occasional misspelling, and some slips in technique such as inverted phrases and clichés. The use of capital letters to start each line looks strangely old-fashioned in such a futuristic subject. I’m still puzzled that the ‘Index of contents’ is at the back; it could so easily have changed places with the biographical note at the beginning, and made the experience of reading this pamphlet easier. But I admire the imaginative drive and range behind the impulse to write these poems, and the lightly sketched narrative that holds the poems together.
D A Prince