2 out of 5 stars
Alec Pryor finds a man, Cyril, that he picks up at a fairground and manages to persuade him to come home for the night. He offers payment and Cyril refuses to accept, but Pryor realises that £3 has been taken. He contacts him and Cyril returns to the home, where they have a row. A few days later he comes home to find that £10 has been taken and contacts him again, Cyril thinks it might be a friend of his. Pryor goes to the police with the story and they fingerprint the house and it turns out to be this associate. He is picked up by the police and when he is questioned tells them of the liaison between Alec and Cyril. Alec Pryor is charged with gross indecency.
He is forced to agree to a series of injections that are a chemical castration, the cure of the time, for homosexuality. As these hormones start to change his body from a lean runner into something that feels unreal, he begins to dream of past and present events. Some are relieved with the stark emotions from the time, others have a more surreal horror to them. Other dreams are about the future of AI and how that will overlap with human consciousness. Interwoven with the dreams and the correspondence he has with June, a lady he almost married, but chose not to as he didn’t want a marriage just for show.
Even though the protagonist is called Alec, this is a pseudonym for the brilliant mathematician and code breaker, Alan Turing. There were parts of this book that I liked, for example, the letters back and forwards between Alec and June, but the dreamlike states in the second part of the book are as complex as they are confusing a lot of the time. I did struggle with it, and at times I really couldn’t get along with it. That said, Eaves is obviously a writer of some talent and I think it will be worth exploring some of his other work. May even give this a re-read at some point.