By D Harlan Wilson

Reviewed by Paul Bradshaw

D Harlan Wilson has produced so much short fiction that I was intrigued as to how his imagination would handle the writing of a longer piece of work, in particular Dr Identity, his debut novel published by Raw Dog Screaming Press. The first unique angle to the book is the inclusion at the beginning of a series of quotes by famous celebrities from all spheres of the entertainment world. As you go through them it becomes quite clear that this is a collection of acclaim for D Harlan Wilson and the novel itself, and not altogether genuine, considering the following example: I wish I could write fiction like that fuckin' D Harlan Wilson - Vladimir Nabakov.

Dr Identity begins with the main character, who claims that he can't recall his own name and refers to himself as Dr Blah, sending a clone of himself, known as a 'ganger, to take charge of a lesson at the university where he teaches in the fictional town of Bliptown. The 'ganger is known as Dr Identity, and appears immediately to possess psychotic tendencies, which becomes more obvious as the story unfolds. During the lesson he kills one of the students, and as the owner of a 'ganger is by law responsible for the actions of his or her clone, both are forced to flee to escape from the authorities. From this point onwards the story resembles the plot of Natural Born Killers, with Dr Blah and Dr Identity being nicknamed the Dystopian Duo, who embark on a killing spree, each murderous occurrence described by the authorities as a 'holocaust'.

As they journey through this bizarre town D Harlan Wilson's vision of the future becomes evident. It's a place littered with strange technology and a weirdness typical of this writer. The prose is perhaps slightly more reserved than that of his shorter works, almost as if he has a wish to replace William Gibson as the king of the future cyber world now that the cyberpunk creator seems to be trying to slide into the mainstream literary genre. However although the prose is more relaxed there is still instances of typical D Harlan Wilson, namely the obscure characters, the strange happenings, the odd madcap slapstick, and events of garish splatter-gore. Lovely!

No-one is able to track down or capture the Dystopian Duo, and in the end the President of 'Amerika' declares that they have become so boring that what they do should be ignored by law, as they are becoming more like celebrities, with merchandise based on the both of them being manufactured by the hour.

Dr Identity is filled with the absurd creations of D Harlan Wilson's imagination, something strange and surreal on almost every page, and by the time you get to the end of the story you feel yourself sinking wholeheartedly into this irreal place.

Dr Identity by D Harlan Wilson. Published by Raw Dog Screaming Press, hb/pb, 212pp, $29.95/$14.95 plus P&P. Available from the publisher and other online outlets, including Amazon UK

Website: - www.dreampeople.org

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