What is a book influencer?
The definition would go somewhere along the lines of an individual who has above-average impact on a specific niche. By impact I mean the ability to increase the sales or awareness of a certain product or brand. And a book influencer? Someone who makes people read more. Buy more books. Yes, someone like that. Am I one? I sure hope so, because there’s nothing quite like the love of books.
What Does Becoming a Book Influencer Mean?
In my case, it means I get some free books in exchange for an honest review. And I was very excited when Jay, StrangeBooks secretary got in touch. Of course I was keen to review Mike Russell’s Strungballs, a sci-fi novella about a 10 year old Sydney.
Strungballs, an extraordinary novella
The blurb doesn’t give much away. What are Strungballs? Ten-year-old Sydney is about to find out… but first he must have a cube of his flesh removed. Sydney will transgress everything he was taught to believe in when he embarks upon a journey that will reveal the astonishing secrets hidden by the red balls on white strings known only as… Strungballs.
In fact, reading the blurb left me pretty confused and eager to find out more. As this is a novella, there’re are only about 60 pages to go through, so the mystery behind the blurb is quickly resolved. But you still end up confused and can’t stop thinking about the book. I need to warn you that the review below contains minor spoilers.
My Thoughts on Strungballs
I’m no stranger to sci-fi thanks to Ben, so this book wasn’t something completely new.
It’s set in dystopian future as far as I’m concerned, although this future isn’t bad or apocalyptic. However, you get a sense of being trapped. Mike Russell describes the living space with its exact measurements, which makes the reader (or at least me) feel very restricted. Adding to that is that Sydney’s whole world consists of a hallway with 999 doors. Even though these doors are in a loop, so in a sense there’s infinity, it is nevertheless, the same loop.
Looking outside Sydney sees only white. Sydney’s future is also pretty determined with only two potential jobs. Everything people do, is good. People do things, even mundane things such as sleep, because to sleep now would be good.
All the people behave in a very robotic way. I felt like they lack emotions, they sit in empty rooms and stare at nothing. But what is there to do, to enjoy, if you’re surrounded by white walls, where everything is exactly the same.
Nobody seems to question anything apart from Albert. After Sydney meets Albert, he starts questioning things and eventually embarks on a bizarre journey that left my head spinning with thoughts.
Books and Metaphors
I just couldn’t stop thinking about this book. Studying English lit, we always discussed the meaning behind the words. Is this all a metaphor for something?
Sydney got his first Strungball after a piece of his flesh was removed. The older the people, the more Strungballs they had. It feels like they are almost a badge of honour. These people did something good for community. They proudly displayed the Strungballs, even their clothes are made in a way that allows displaying the strings.
Thinking about it, we’re also sacrificing bits and pieces of ourselves, but our Strungballs seem more materialistic. We sacrifice our time with the family for a job that allows us to buy a home or cars. They feel like our own Strungballs. Something we can display to show others just how much we sacrificed. We teach our children what is good and try to direct them to a respected job. Just what Sydney’s parents did.
And what happens in the end? Strungballs disappeared into a giant baby. What happens with our materialistic possessions?