There and back again

I recently had the oddest experience – picking up a book and reading it, and having the strangest sensation that it was very similar to another book that I was very familiar with.

The book was There and back again, by Pat Murphy, and the book it is similar to is The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, of course.

Murphy’s taken the historical/mythical feeling Hobbit and transformed it into a science fiction story. Gandalf is a mysterious half cyborg woman. The dwarves are also female, and are all clones. Odd, that.

I admit I was taken in with it at first, and enjoying it, but frankly, There and back again falls short, way short, of Tolkien’s masterpiece.

It’s far shorter, to start with, as Murphy seemingly does not have the patience to develop his characters through plot and conversation. And it’s very definitely not readable as a children’s story, with various more or less nasty cyberpunk-type elements thrown in – for spice, I presume.

I’d like to say nice try, but I’m not sure that even that faint praise is deserved.