The book 253 is by Geoff Ryman. It is the story of 253 characters on a Tube train, each one described in a total of 253 words split under three sections - outward appearance, inside information and what the character is thinking or doing. It's an interesting exercise which sometimes intrigues but more often frustrates because you really want some development in the story. In the end it feels a bit like junk food, you keep consuming it but it isn't as substantial as you hoped.
The Tube meets with a tragic end (it's flagged pretty early so no great spoiler to tell you) and it's interesting to have a snapshot of a diverse group of people and the state of their souls just before the accident. With the awful events in Japan on our screens everyday, it has an even greater poignancy right now but because there is no plot or shape to the book (which is probably the whole point) I am marking it down as a mere 5/10.
1 week ago