DJ Burnham, Test Drive: Volume 1 of the collected stories. The Inky Well, 2007. Pp. 319. ISBN 9781847536419. £7.99.

Reviewed by Karina Kantas

Test Drive is a collection of seventeen short stories in the genre of Science Fiction. You don’t need to be an N.A.S.A scientist to understand and enjoy these stories, but knowledge and the love for science fiction is a must. In this collection, you’ll find tales of romance, religion, war, and horror, all in the genre of sci-fi.

The first story is called ‘Test Drive’ and is a tale about a young inventor who goes on a car journey across Mars and comes across a hitchhiker, or is it merely space dementia that’s causing the ghostly apparition? The plot for ‘Travel Agency’ made me smile. Imagine aliens taking over the world for the good of humanity. ‘Meltdown’ is a curious little tale about being able to live an eternity without actually living. ‘The Spoils of War’ is a chillingly realistic tale. With the conflict in Iraq, this will hit home to many people. ‘Dinner Guest’ is an enjoyable story about an alien chef; top chef of the universe who has a taste for human flesh. In the end, humanity gets its revenge.

The only tale that failed to impress this reader was ‘One True Path’. As the title suggested this is religious orientated and a little too thick in parts; resulting in it not being as entertaining as the other stories.

Test drive isn’t the kind of book you could read in one sitting, in fact, readers may find some of the stories hard to digest as Burnham gives complex descriptions and scientific details. However, the stories are entertaining enough to want to pick the book up again. Test Drive is a feast for lovers of sci-fi, and his originality and detail could certainly put him with the best science fiction writers around.

To add an incentive to potential readers; the author requests all profits from the book will be donated to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

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