Under the Alien Sky by James M. Bourke

Under the Alien Sky

byJames M. Bourke

Kobo ebook | August 23, 2010

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Under the Alien Sky is a very different kind of novel from the mainstream fictional genre. It is written as an oriental fable, which means it has a subtext in addition to its surface story. It sets out to paint a picture of a remote and secretive state in the middle of Sulu Sea the Sultanate of Michaeli, which is a small island seldom shown on maps and many people in the southeast are unaware of its existence.

By good chance, the writer manages to establish that the Sultanate of Michaeli really exists and he gets the rare opportunity to visit it. The story describes his voyage to the island, and the odd people and weird events he encounters during his week there. Unfortunately, this little paradise on earth became a living hell when the Gang of Four sidelined the Sultan and ushered in a reign of stygian gloom.

The story is essentially about the Southeast Asian way of life as seen by the western visitor. The intention is to paint a picture of what it is like living under the alien sky as the writer has done for the past 30 years. Under the Alien Sky is a work of fiction based on fact. A feature of the book is the comical and satirical subtext which should lift the spirits of the armchair reader especially in the current economic gloom. Another feature of the book is the copious end-notes which are for those English teachers who have never been beyond Portsmouth, or Irish reader who have never been further south than the city of Cork. People in the Americas and other parts of the globe travel more widely and may have some knowledge of Southeast Asia even though a former US president could not tell Iraq from Iran.

Under the Alien Sky is light reading, perfect for the long train journey, or holiday reading. It has all the ingredients of a good read a stimulating story, larger-than-life characters, exotic location, and candid observations on the oriental way of life. Being based on fact, it reads almost like an authentic journal. The settings are authentic but the characters are fictional.

As far as the subtext is concerned, the story is an oblique indictment of political intrigue, corruption and religious bigotry. It attacks shame and hypocrisy as well as stony-faced religious zealots. In putting the focus on the Sultanate of Michaeli, the writer is synthesising the current political situation in any one of a dozen Southeast Asian democracies. He exposes the frailty of the ruling class, their crass avarice, corrupt practices, cronyism, and their not-so-subtle methods of silencing all opposition. However, the characters and events described in the novel are purely fictional.

Title:Under the Alien SkyFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:August 23, 2010Publisher:Xlibris UKLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:145350348X

ISBN - 13:9781453503485

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