by Chris Leite
It’s becoming horribly apparent that Android ICQA-1037 (“Icy”) is not quite wired up right. Binge killing, random violence, and highly inappropriate behaviour are all part of Icy’s day, and he seems to thoroughly love it, but it would be nice to have a meaningful relationship and not feel quite so defective…
To be frank, this is not a genre I normally read, it’s not a particular favourite of mine. However, I enjoyed Pink Gallery to Mar Suite. It could be levelled that the premise is not new; rogue, disaffected robot with a possible conscience, but there was something fresh about this story.
Further, I felt there was a contemporary sub-text operating. Personally, Icy seemed to function as a loose metaphor for the current climate of general frustrated resentment and barely suppressed rage. He carries out the most heinous acts with complete impunity and emotional detachment and, in the interest of escapism, that can be quite satisfying reading.
Anyhow, regardless of the above, Pink Gallery to Mar Suite was interesting, amusing, and unashamedly savage. And, make no mistake, it is violent and pretty unfiltered. If the brutality had been diluted then the entire concept would have been weakened but, you have been warned; it’s vicious and visceral.
There is a lot of dialogue and internal monologuing. A large number of the chapters are purely Icy’s stream of consciousness, and it works. It enhances his malfunctioning mechanics, but the emotional nature of his thoughts also contrast with the fact he is an android. Although his murderous impulses are fully indulged and carried out with total remorselessness, there is a tiny kernel of self-reproach and consideration when it comes to relationships; both friendships and romantic liaisons.
Automatic writing does often have a tendency to become a bit too unhinged and, consequently, tiresome for the reader but, overall, it works well in Pink Gallery to Mar Suite. Icy’s ramblings are deceptively structured to not only develop his character, but move the narrative on. There is a full-on descent into madness toward the end, and Icy is aware of this, which makes it even more alarming.
Some of the dialogue could do with a touch more individuality but I found it quite amusing in places, especially some of the riffing between Icy and fellow android, A3-11. The sense of rising panic quickly turning to complete terror was also well conveyed by Malik the security guard in his exchange with Icy.
Pink Gallery to Mar Suite is an entertaining novel that effectively blurs the line between science fiction and horror. Well worth a look.