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Steve Aylett
at the
complete review:

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Name: Steve AYLETT
Nationality: English
Born: 1967

  • In The Crime Studio (1994) the copy states: "During daylight hours he works as a legal editor. Stroking ferns is his only remaining pleasure."
  • In Bigot Hall (1995) the copy states: "He works as a belching consultant and has the ability to become a silhouette at will. 1994 saw the publication of his book The Crime Studio, a work widely regarded as a cry for help."

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Highlighted titles are under review at the complete review

Please note that this bibliography is not necessarily complete.

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What others have to
say about
Steve Aylett:

  • "Steve Aylett's distorting lenses are crueller than most." - David V. Barett, New Statesman (18/8/1995)

  • "(Aylett's) inventive use of the modern idiom can be devastating." - Michael Moorcock, New Statesman (11/10/99) (letter to Editor)

  • "Aesthetically, Aylett owes more to MTV than he does to literary tradition: his experimental prose pieces resemble the digitally manipulated hallucinations we see on our screens, and their sheer Baroqueness makes a kindred spirit such as Robert Coover look like a Victorian." - Philip Landon, Review of Contemporary Fiction, (Summer/2000)

  • "Remember the scene in Sleeping Beauty where the good fairies bless the baby princess, bending over her cot to bestow wit, grace and freedom from halitosis ? Something like that must have happened after Steve Aylett was born. Runyon, Chandler, Eluard, Vian and Dali all dropped by with kisses for mum and gifts for the baby: Stripper Barbies and Bookie Kens; toy revolvers and Junior Private Eye badges; bags of blue oranges; and book after book of fairy tales in which wolves shave off their fur and marry Little Red Riding Hoods, or ugly ducklings turn into mean-tempered lobsters." - Phil Daoust, The Guardian (11/11/2000)

  • "His forte is cyber-surrealistic-futuristic fiction -- and fans like me are grateful for that -- but I couldn’t help thinking it’s minds like his we’d like in our think tanks. He’s one of the few truly originals." - Jill Adams, The Barcelona Review (11-12/2001)

  • "Reminiscent of Ronald Firbank's The Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli or Sorrow in Sunlight, Aylett's language is often the substance, the narrative. You are lost unless you accept the logic of his characters, the sardonic rhythms of his prose. And as with Firbank, you tend to begin an Aylett feeling that you've been dropped into the annual party at the loony bin, but after a few pages his weirdly angled vision takes you over." - Michael Moorcock, The Guardian (15/6/2002)

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Pros and Cons
of the author's work:

  • Inventive, caustic, humorous tales
  • Daring with language and with ideas
  • Unusual, rich, sharp style
  • Succinct, with little excess

  • The writing is relentless
  • Stories often lack some cohesion and purpose
  • Aylett's wit is not to everyone's taste
  • Too bizarre and surreal for some tastes

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the complete review's Opinion

     Steve Aylett's short little books are in a league of their own. Only Will Self displays a similar sharp humour coupled with such great attention to language and expression, but where Self burrows himself into his flights of fancy, Aylett is almost an epigrammatist. This is writing so lean that the sentences seem individually chiselled and then set, like bricks in a wall, next to each other. Not always ideal for structuring a narrative, but Aylett still manages to grab and hold the reader's attention.
     The sharp, dark wit, utter hopelessness (with little oppressive despair), and unlikely events Aylett presents make for unusual reads. Aylett builds (and collapses) worlds -- the urban hellhole of Beerlight, the gothic Bigot Hall -- with a few words, meticulously wrought rough sketches flung at the reader. Aylett is the Goya of the age. He has not quite figured out how to employ his talents to best effect in larger, sustained pieces, but the smaller canvases he's done so far are fine and interesting stuff.
     Aylett's risks don't always pan out and the humour is sometimes forced, but at least he is willing to push the envelope. Aylett aims to entertain with his bizarre and decidedly surreal writing, and by and large he succeeds. Always interesting, often funny, sometimes breathtaking, Aylett's prose is always well worth reading.

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Steve Aylett: Steve Aylett's work available online: Steve Aylett's Books at the complete review: See also:

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