Owen W Knight (@OwenKnightUK)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)
“We have considered your report and accept many of your recommendations. We thank you for alerting us to the possibility that the Visitors might have negative intentions towards us as a species. You questioned the benefits to us, the human race. We believe these are self-evident and will assist us in creating a better world.”
You join us at a time that will be known as ‘The Great Reset’. An alien race has made contact with us and frankly, things will never be the same again. The main protagonists here include Peter (who actually saved the world fourteen years ago – but that is another story) and his sister Emily. These two bright young things are key, along with some other strangers who cross their paths due to oddly coded invitations – potentially to the future of the human race.
This group must travel to the hidden village of Templewood, home to the Sect, a secretive organisation intent on global power, who see themselves as ‘God’s Authority on Earth’ no less.
As the clock ticks and the stakes get ever higher, can the fact that the Sect have infiltrated many Governments and are actively collaborating with the will of the Visitors lead to the promise of a glorious future – or something far more sinister?
I’m a big fan of speculative fiction and very much enjoyed Knight’s last book The Green Man. We he tackles the well-worn plot of alien invaders bringing gifts of advanced scientific and genetic discoveries. It put me in mind of the fun ‘80s TV show ‘V’ starring Marc Singer on the side of the humans and Jane Badler as the untrustworthy visitor Diana (below)…
Anyway, the problem with aliens with superior technology is often the price that they’ll ask for sharing it with us. And whilst in The Visitors the gifts they bring will potentially provide enormous benefits for humanity, the plot deals with the fallout for us in terms of how they will also facilitate the Sect's bid for global power.
Can the Visitors be trusted? Why are the ‘borrowing’ humans to do we know not what with before sending them back? Will the Sect blindly follow the Visitors’ wishes or usurp them for their own ends and if so, how can Peter, Emily and the crew possibly save us from what might happen next?
This is a thinking person’s sci-fi, where politics and ramifications of decisions are explored more through discussion than laser gun action. There is something wonderfully British about this book with the heroes often stopping for cups of tea and the like.
I can heartily recommend this allegorical tale – which feels very timely – and look forward to what wonders Knight might bring us in the future!
As Abba once sang: ‘And now they've come to take me, come to break me, and yet it isn't unexpected. I have been waiting for these visitors…’
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I asked Owen some questions so you can get a glimpse into his mind - here are his answers (i'm at least 80% sure he hasn't been taken over by an alien...)
Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis?
Owen: Rust caused by red wine.
Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre?
Owen: The sense of threat in the scene where Frank (Dennis Hopper) inhales amyl nitrite through a mask to enhance his pleasure from violence in David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet.
Matt: If aliens took over your body - how would people realise?
Owen: My eyes would turn amber (read The Visitors).
Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to…
Owen: I’d spend the evening booking a year away in exotic places where I can meet local people and get insights into their lives.
Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)?
Owen: So many… Arthur Rimbaud, J.G. Ballard, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, B. S. Johnson. Alasdair Gray, Andrew Michael Hurley…
Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask?
Owen: Someone I have mistreated in one of my books. An anonymous alien, perhaps, or the Green Man.
Matt: What is truth?
Owen: I continue to seek the answer.
Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given?
Owen: The gift of insight. To be able to build a story from by linking unconnected ideas.
Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you?
Owen: Randomly generate heterogeneous ideas that I could link and use in my next novel. Rather like a tennis ball machine.
Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone?
Owen: ‘I have found the portal to the real world and could be gone a while.’
Matt: Any final words you like to add...
Owen: Football clubs are now investing in how to speed up players’ thought processes and reaction times. I can think of few greater gifts to a writer than to be able to think, analyse and make connections faster. If The Visitors bring me a gift, I hope it is a quantum algorithm process to do just this.
>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?
Click below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel...