Friday, 25 January 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week Part 1: Daddy's choice - "Maggot Moon - Enhanced Edition" by Sally Gardner (Hot Key Books)

I make no apologies for banging on and on and on about this book since I first clapped eyes on it a couple of weeks ago, and you've probably seen enough tweets and references to it in the blog to have already guessed it was going to be a book of the week. But why? That's a very important question and one that's deliciously easy to answer too.

It's the 'back of the neck' effect.

"Maggot Moon' weaves a tale of schoolboy life around the time of the moon landings with the delicate golden threads of surreality. The hero, Standish Treadwell, is no ordinary boy. He's dyslexic (like Sally herself) and to him, time is not the linear uniform notch on the bedpost of life that we all experience on a daily basis.

As we see the world through Standish's eyes, we begin to understand more fully than ever before what it is like to be dyslexic, and to genuinely feel that 'normal' is almost an offensive word. From his perspective, we feel that 'normal' is in fact horribly broken and disjointed, and in the case of his view of authority and conformism, 'normal' is inherently dark and dismal.

Sally Gardner's prose as she takes us through the obsidian journey through Standish's life and his mind is so wrought with tension and gripping drama that you'll begin to understand why it needs to be shouted about. At times, reading "Maggot Moon" reminded me of the same feeling I got watching a fantastic piece of Japanese animation called "Tekonkinkreet" - the 'back of the neck effect' that makes you feel like your mind is about to explode with the possibilities of a world where reality is surreality.

With the enhanced edition, Sally Gardner has worked very closely with the iBook developers Hot Key Books to ensure that we do not merely experience another dyslexic character who can't read or spell, can't write, and can't effectively convey their message. We experience a character (and indeed the story) in a way that puts us right behind Sally's eyes (and Standish's for that matter).

The iBook version can be read straight (in portrait mode) but flip the book on its side (like Standish flips the world in his mind) into Landscape mode and you'll experience the true magic that happens when a developer starts to unleash the potential of technology. "Maggot Moon" is packed with extra information, accompanying readings and videos of Sally herself explaining her thoughts and processes. There are illustrations and ties into social media, and some truly awe inspiring showreels about the power of information and the way our modern methods of communication (specifically the internet) can begin to shape our life experiences in ways no one could have possibly predicted when the fledgling world wide web first appeared over 20 years ago.

Even if you've already read Maggot Moon in hardback or paperback printed form, I'd urge you to pick this iBook enhanced version up to experience the story in an entirely new - and most importantly - an extremely inspirational way. I know Hot Key Books have a lot of juicy projects in the pipeline - if this is anything to go by, they may well be one of the most influential and cutting edge ebook developers on the planet at the moment.

Brilliant, terrifying but thoroughly essential.

Drop by the Maggot Moon iBook Website and grab a copy now!