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Planet of the Owls Paperback – July 15, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mike Philbin (born 1966 in St Helens, Merseyside) is an artist, editor and author residing in Oxford in the United Kingdom. He spent the late 1980s and early 1990s exhibiting his brand of psycho-realist paintings in one-man shows in St Helens, Liverpool and London. Philbin is the editor of the Chimeraworld anthology, an advocate of collaborative fiction and the death of genre.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Silverthought Press (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981519148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981519142
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,481,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark R. Brand on August 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
I haven't reviewed anything for a while due to the usual family and work constraints, but if there was a book to come back to that deserves to have some things said about it, that book would certainly be Mike Philbin's Planet of the Owls. It's the story of two teenagers, Marcus (nineteen) in England and Su-Ki (fourteen) in China. They go about otherwise unremarkable lives until one day legions of violent "angels", living Gods, masquerading as giant human-sized birds, descend on the earth and begin the culling of mankind. Sound weird? You would be right.

From there, the plot spirals up into heights of graphic sex and violence the likes of which I've personally only encountered a few times in literature, and rarely with such gut-churning, shameless ferocity. Much of this content can be couched in the bookish safety zone of metaphor, but perhaps not all, which I'll get into in a moment. The book's third act takes place on an earth that teeters on the edge of destruction, with both sides in the tug-of-war spelling impending doom for the human race. Marcus and Su-Ki are caught in this, and find their way to each other eventually, and their everlasting fates.

In any case, let's get this out of the way first: this book is possibly among the most hyper-violent things I've ever read, and it also contains passages of grossly-disturbing sex. I am not easily moved by graphic things, and there were portions of this book that had me literally recoiling from the written words and looking away in the same fashion as someone who can't bear to watch a car wreck that's about to happen. If you pick up this book, be warned that you will read segments of it through the cracks in the hands that you've put over your eyes to keep the imagery out.
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Format: Paperback
A very strange and terrifying book.

The nightmarish surrealism is what I love about all of his books. Philbin never fails to deliver the goods when it comes creating fiction that is original and full of creative narrative that explodes with vibrant metaphors and graphic description.

This books is not for those with weak stomachs or those adults with the sensibilities of a four-year old who would get offended at the first sight of human nudity. But keep in mind, there is nothing written in a book that doesn't reflect the real world somehow. I find that horror books are here to remind us that we're in Hell and we better get use to it. Reading horror novels, for me, is a way of confronting insanity on another level. At least you can escape from the nightmares of a book, but the nightmare we call reality, no matter how little we try to make our worlds, we cannot escape from. If you can't confront the nightmares in a book, how are you ever going to confront the real thing when it arrives, bursting through the locked doors of your domestic prison?

So read this book! It'll be good for you!

Who knows, the real apolocalypse may consist of giant birds feasting on human beings and raping them to produce strange hybrids. At least if you read this book, you'll be more prepared for it. And if not, at least you'll find some entertainment in a story well told.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had read an intriguing short story Mike wrote years ago, which served as a glimpse into the Planet of the Owls world. Some years later he published his book; and I've been meaning to read it for several years now. Mike has a way of taking his audience dangerously far into the future to see human existence as an outsider would and to see human civilization in the grander scheme of things. His cynical, nihilistic narratives in Planet of the Owls take us to a dying Earth teeming with giant birds, puppeteered by death angels. There is a heaping helping of graphic mutilation, murder and disgusting bestial sex (with giant birds and human hybrid birds). As such, it is not for a general audience. But it is worth a look, if you're in the market for something really different from what you would expect.

With its inventiveness and unexpectedness, Planet of the Owls is bound to be a challenging read for anyone. Mike has a lot to say and a lot of bizarre stuff to get out of his head and onto the page. He has a curious mind and is no slouch when it comes to philosophizing and framing out all manner of thought experiments with science and historical examples. He comfortably describes tremendously disturbing acts and bizarre happenings in full blown technicolor without so much as breaking a sweat. His mind has been down these pathways again and again, which shows on the written page. There's something to distress anyone in this book. Even I nearly set it down at one point; and I can stomach almost anything.

As wildly imaginative and unusual as the book is (and perhaps because of this), the storytelling itself could have benefited from either a single fixed narrative or stronger characterizations of the two narratives to help the reader lose sight of all the wires and string-pulling going on.
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