Monday 6 September 2021

Review by Simon Elson of "Gigantic" by Ashley Stokes

There’s a genre of book that has come to the fore recently: humorous sci-fi / fantasy. Perhaps the late Douglas Adams might be considered the father of this genre, but in recent years more and more authors have taken up the challenge, which is great news as I love a good sci-fi book and if it's a funny one then all the better.

Gigantic by Ashley Stokes fits nicely into this genre. Kevin Stubbs is convinced a Yeti / Bigfoot-type creature is living in woods just off the A127 near Sutton in Surrey. He spends his life searching for it. The narrative takes the form of letters and reports of an organisation called G.I.T. They are written in the first person by two different authors, with Kevin’s being the lion’s (or perhaps Bigfoot’s) share of the text.

This book had me from the prologue, when Kevin tells the reader that as a child he watched Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World and read a weekly encyclopedia magazine entitled The Unexplained. As a twelve year old, I also did both. I have only recently lost the ESP cards that were given away with issue 1 of The Unexplained and I’ve still got the hardback book that accompanied the Mysterious World T.V. programme. At the risk of sounding a little strange, myself and a couple of friends were also convinced that a Bigfoot and an alien landing site were both situated in a nearby wood in Staffordshire, probably because we all watched Arthur C. Clarke and read weird magazines. Add the fact that my wife’s family hails from Surrey and I know the A127 and Sutton very well, the coincidences stacked up and I just had to keep reading. 

The book takes place over just a few days and you can’t second guess the ending. If I could read it again for the first time, I would just stop trying and enjoy the twists and turns. If this genre is your thing, then you should let this book share space on your bookshelf (or virtual bookshelf) alongside the classics of this style.

About the reviewer
Simon Elson is a Freelance Features Writer. His articles  have appeared in numerous national magazines including Best of British, Derbyshire Life and Writing Magazine. He also writes for the popular cycling website and has been a guest blogger on The Huffington Post

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