Review: Alasdair D. McLeod, Ocean Sketchbook, 2019

The Thai Literary Supplement weighs in with a cracking review of the Ocean Sketchbook collection of short stories.

The Thai Literary Supplement

So it turns out Alasdair McLeod is a teacher in a nearby international school, which is something I discovered when they hosted a football tournament. I even had a copy of Ocean Sketchbook on my iPhone – some nice synchronicity there, to kick things off.

Before beginning this collection I was aware that McLeod had a predilection for the speculative in his fiction. Three of the five short stories here could be described thus, especially ‘Code Tide Rising – the Library of Code’ which is outright science fictional in its AI premise. The remainder are set in Asia; Thailand’s realm of the Nagas features in ‘When the Gods Make Merit’, and ‘Tomorrow’s Light’ is a similarly-located potent mix of psychic connection between brothers, augmented by some extraordinarily powerful and unusual tattoos.

But Ocean Sketchbook is more diverse than just short stories. The centrepiece of the collection is the long travelogue…

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