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The year under the machine - by Peter Danielsson

I recieved a digital ARC e-book of The year under the machine, in return for an honest review.

Peter Danielson's book is more properly regarded as a work of art, I believe. Consisting of story entries that are broken up by abstract paintings of black and white, minimalistic and bleak, The year under the machine is an atmospheric despair-filled diary of aliens taking over the planet, hovering in the air and abducting people - who are never seen again. The population of the planet dwindles, and those left are forced to face their inevitable abduction.

It's a great premise, and the written entries fulfill their function. The reader is brought through the various emotions the narrator lives through as he commentates the dying seconds of the world, from anger and disbelief, fear, horror, fascination, through to acceptance of the inevitable, longing even, for the event to happen.

The narrative is bleak, well written, focussed.

The artwork

And here is the problem.

The artwork on the digital copy I received, was tiny. I enlarged the pictures as much as I could, but even at maximum magnification, the impact of the artwork was lost. I can see, from the artwork that was viewable, that massive pages of this art would leave a fantastic impression - though black and white, the passion that has gone into them would be something to look at, leave open on a coffee table, enjoy at your leisure. It's one of those books that needs to be physically in your hands, left open to absorb.

That's just not possible in the kindle format I received.

And that's tragic.

The story - I think peter nailed it. It was bleak, but the flow was great. I empathized with the MC, the prose was poetic. It's short, over in minutes - but balanced by the art, this is a book you could take a day to read - a week - a lifetime. Especially me, who was brought up on Graphic novels - Dave sim, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore - this is exactly my gig.

It wasn't possible to view properly in e-book format.

It kills me to say this, but this doesn't translate into an ebook well at all. You would need a physical copy. I can say that I think this would be a fantastic book, but the format I received sabotaged itself.

If I'd have seen a physical copy, I think this would have been an easy 5, but take away that art, and you are left with a short, short story, and whilst it's good, Peter is selling this book as a whole.

It is art, and art needs to be seen.

I'm giving this 4 ⭐ 's because it deserves 5, I believe, but I have to stay true to what I received my impression of it and my opinion. Honestly, get this book - but buy a physical copy.


You can buy The year under the machine on Peter's website, HERE

You can find Peter on Twitter, HERE


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1 Comment

Priscilla Bettis
Priscilla Bettis
Feb 28, 2022

It sounds like The Year Under the Machine physical copy would make an excellent gift book. I have the ebook on my TBR. I'll have to extrapolate the artwork in my imagination.


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