Title: Calling Major Tom
Author: David M. Barnett
Format: Digital ARC, 304 pages
Publication Details: June 18th 2017 by Trapeze
Genre(s): General Fiction; Science Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.
CALLING MAJOR TOM is a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming story of a man who has given up on the world… but discovers in the most unlikely way that it might not have given up on him.
We all know someone like Thomas.
The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents’ Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don’t have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.
Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.
But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world.
Calling Major Tom is a story about family and friendship, and more importantly about losing your way.
Thomas Major is an extremely grumpy scientist who partly by chance and partly by his own stupidity becomes the first man to be sent to Mars. It’s basically a suicide mission but that doesn’t bother Thomas. He’s just happy that he’ll be alone. For a really, really long time, if not forever.
Thinking he’s calling his ex-wife from space, Thomas actually gets through to Gladys, a grandmother suffering from dementia and he’s unwittingly thrown into the lives of a family with some very real problems.
Despite his best efforts to be alone, Thomas Major finds himself trying to help the family from space, and in helping them he learns that maybe he’s not quite the lost cause he thought he was.
Calling Major Tom is wonderfully odd. It’s one of those genuine heart-warming stories that just makes you smile. It’s far-fetched; not at all realistic in plot, but each and every character stands out providing a good injection of realness to bring us back down to earth.
That’s not to say that I didn’t find some faults in it. There seemed a tendency to jump from one scene or thought to the next without any transition, but that may have just been the pre-proof format to be fair. However, it did put me off at first until I got into the erratic rhythm of it.
I am always impressed by anyone who can create a wonderful story like this, but what impressed me the most was how current it was. There are references to David Bowie’s death and Brexit which makes me wonder when Barnett started writing it and how long it took him. I loved all the Bowie references, naturally, and its crazy quirkiness and undeniable charm made it a perfect tribute to the great man.