The Moment Between Two Thoughts by Nick Crutchley – 5/5 Stars

The Moment Between Two Thoughts by Nick Crutchley

‘Hope is a vein of gold, faith makes the weakest soul bold, and loving kindness warms those lost in despairing cold.’

Corona-related quotes

‘The Xuan Wu district is under quarantine. Citizens, return to your homes.’ An unseen stealth drone booms its lie as it tries to prevent those infected by the Blood Plague pushing towards a closed-off bridge. ‘A vaccination is ready. Return home and prepare for immuno-psyberware code upload. Please comply or stunning and imprisonment will follow … Misery goes viral.’

What’s it about?

 ‘Chaos, let our wills collide, and in the moment between two thoughts decide the dream equilibrium of Dragonland.’

The Moment Between Two Thoughts (MBTT) is a battle between eco-terrorist group CHAOS and the spaceship New Hope’s psychic authority and guide Gaia, who leads the survivors of the human race to new planet Dragonland, which represents humanity’s last hope after we’ve ruined the planet. ‘Ruined the planet’, you may ask. There is a deadly virus called the Blood Plague, neo Nazis, and governments that pretends to care for the environment as a way of protecting their interests. All the while, it’s spelt out that ordinary people are consumers, too hacked in to the system and reliant on … upgrades, technology, entertainment, and fantasy.

But CHAOS doesn’t want the (privileged?) survivors to survive, ahem, instead wanting them to suffer for their crimes on Earth. Thereafter, we’re introduced to a battle of wills, mostly represented with symbolic good vs evil extravaganza – you’ll have to read it to see how awesome it is – but which is actually occurring in the consciousness of those aboard the ship!

How does MBTT compare with other science fiction and fantasy?

When I started, I felt it was reminiscent of Neuromancer and Blade Runner. There is certainly that cutting-edge feeling, of high-economy and low morals, but with an ecological twist. The author does this, at first, by taking consumerism to what reads like its natural extreme.

There are many ideas and links he makes, which would be especially interesting for people living in the high-tech society we do live in, of how past belief is similar to present marketing, and the fear of fire in Christian religion may be, through cultural osmosis, the psychic equivalent of hell in the network of devices called ‘psyberware’ that people are connected to – though I didn’t feel I knew exactly what psyberware was. ‘Work hard, party hard, and let your psyberware cook you up something illegal. It’s the only way to survive times like this.’

Conclusion

I was sucked into a world of author Nick Crutchley’s imagination, and when it ended, I felt I’d taken it with me. MBTT is addictive – the best quality, and not the only one of the author’s writing, having also read Nick Crutchley’s Deadweight. In MBTT, there was certainly that feeling of having lived through an epic and momentous conflict.

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Deadweight by Nick Crutchley – 5/5 Stars – Book Review and Free Kindle Codes

‘This autobiographical novel is therefore not about me, it’s about you.’

The close emotional personal experiences of author Nick Crutchley – many painful – were not easy to write about in this review, never mind for the author. I shall try my best.

Deadweight by Nick Crutchley - Front Cover

 

Initial impressions

I didn’t know what was happening at first, or why, but it was a serious Incident (no spoilers here). The following chapters give us an insight into why it may have happened, but nothing is clear. What I did grasp afterward was that beyond Nick’s initial positive interest in the spiritual and fantasy there’s a lot of pressure on him, evoking great sadness. My interpretation of Deadweight early on was that trouble in family and in teenage friendships/relationships may have had an impact on the Incident, but it’s difficult to be certain.

We move on, and though Nick is often with friends his isolation grows, like a fracturing away. I noticed fewer new positive friendships were mentioned later on, and it’s more awkward with those he already has. I’m unsure how I felt about this fracturing away when reading. As far as I know, there were elements of a few mental illnesses involved. And Nick sought a solution to his problems himself. There was a memorable point in the book after the Incident when he said, ‘the deadweight compresses memories and feelings as I realise no one will ever listen’.

What’s it about?

It’s an autobiography about serious mental illness, pressure, betrayal, friendship, desperation, and hope. To elaborate, Deadweight is author Nick Crutchley’s journey from teenage years to adulthood, covering his friendships, his experiences, and his hard times.

The subject matter is serious, yet I found the delivery addictive as we dive into personalities and situations that move the ‘protagonist’ forward, and so to me it reads like interwoven short stories, with some characters reappearing or getting mentioned again and others fading into obscurity without conclusion; that’s life, I suppose. Part II held most of my attention, being focused on strong bonds and revolving around a spiritual game. In the way it was written I foresaw two possibilities occurring, and one did.

What did it remind me of?

Initially I thought – not being a big autobiography reader – that Deadweight dives into personal experiences in vivid detail that reminded me of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham. Soon I realised it was not like anything I had read, unlike a fiction story with a beginning-middle-end structure, and compressed with lots of subtle hidden meanings; with a magical, spiritual, and conspiratorial edge.

Is there something to learn from Deadweight?

I think there is. The following thoughts are my own conclusions. I gathered that the author grew up in a time when mental illness was less understood and accepted. When communication with family fails, and when friendships fail and become more distant, there is no support. There is no open channel of communication with those you do know, and none from any external provider. You’re treated as if you have a disease, left alone to find your own solution, and I think this must make things worse. The aim of Deadweight is to promote a more compassionate society, and I think it certainly does this by showing what happens when there is no compassion. A reader only displays a smidgen of the author’s bravery: the author who recorded his close, personal, and painful experiences to the public to help others. It brings a tear to my eye.

Nick Crutchley’s Website

Free Kindle Codes

Fantastic news for readers: I’ve available one US Kindle code and one UK Kindle code of Deadweight by Nick Crutchley. The first two readers to comment on this post will be sent the link to their email address.