‘A flying...teacup? Harper dear, are you feeling quite all right?’
British author/musician/composer Jude Gwynaire makes his literary debut with the publication of his teens to young adult science fiction/fantasy novel ALIENS IN MY GARDEN – a tale ‘set in 'The Garden', a micro-universe of magic and wonder, hidden in an ordinary suburban garden.’ His musical genres are Electronica, Ambient, New Age and Rock.
Jude blends fantasy and adventure with a keenly tuned humor that makes his novel not only a fine story in the fantasy realm but also a superbly entertaining take on the concepts and misconceptions we all share.
Opening his book Jude immediately sets the tone for his story – ‘Do you have a garden? Has it shown you the Thing yet? Not all gardens do the Thing, of course, and even with those that do, not everyone can see them do it. My garden does. Look—this is my garden. Overgrown grass, flowers, the vegetable patch—the shed, the broken swing, the trees down the far end with dark leaves for shade. Nothing special. Nothing to worry about, right? An ordinary garden... There are people who say the whole world grew out of a garden. There are other people who say the whole world is still a garden—a big round garden in the black and starlit backyard of space, big enough to be seen by the creatures who live out there, unaware of us all scurrying about down here, being important. Of course, if that’s the case, then everything’s relative. Maybe we only see the garden that’s the right size for us. Maybe, beneath or within the garden we can see, there’s somewhere else, with people and creatures living their important lives, as unaware of us as we are of them. And maybe, if the sun’s in the right direction, and you step lightly on the grass and think really tiny thoughts... VZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
soon, he would have new visitors in his garden. Strange visitors—stranger than any he had ever seen. Of course, it wasn’t just his garden—the Garden belonged to many others...including a witch, a green man, and a wizard. So, maybe, the Garden was already a little strange. Must tell Alditha, must tell Alditha, he thought, fluttering frantically. Really speaking, owls were meant to swoop majestically, only doing something as undignified as flapping when there was no graceful alternative. But Harper had never been good at being an owl. He’d nearly been thrown out of flight school as a chick, and it had taken him five tries to pass his hunting module. And as for talon care, many was the time old Master Woozlem had looked down the length of his stern, hard beak, then turned his head away in despair.’
And so we are caught in his world and the story follows the synopsis – ‘The story takes Alditha the witch and Harper (the talking, though not terribly bright owl) from their usual business serving the residents of the Garden on a path that pits them against Skoros. The would-be evil wizard is useless at magic, great at engineering, has a brass wand, a smart alec who plans to take over the Garden. When a giant teacup lands in their world, they are introduced to Celeste, a teenaged alien girl (who's really much older than she looks) and Alpha, her bio-mechanoid co-pilot, who looks like a typical Grey alien.’
A compleat joy – and certainly enough to whet the appetite for more!
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.