Debatable Space, Philip Palmer Rothdas book review RSS
2.8 Stars

An early work by Philip Palmer that is doesn't quite succeed, and seems more like a prototype for what he would do successfully in his later books. Palmer relies on a gonzo energy in his books, with all the dials turned up to 11 and the creativity turned up to 12. Gonzo energy is a dangerous tool though, and if you don't use it correctly, or if it is not quite gonzo enough, it falls flat on its face. Imagine a Gallagher act where Gallagher had the flu that day and was just kind of going through the motions. What is funny and interesting (or I suppose would be funny and interesting, never actually seen Gallagher), instead becomes kind of cringey, kind of creepy. Debtable Space has that problem, as Palmer had not quite got his formula right. There are ~50 page sections which just don't work, and it really doesn't earn its 500+ page length. The dials all seem turned up to 7 or 8, and the book falls in this uncomfortable middle space where the events aren't really believable/sensible but aren't completely wild and energetic either. The book isn't absolutely terrible and it at least reads quickly, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you are a Palmer completist.