Review: A Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer

A superior Spectre cover


You know that feeling when you’ve read a book that’s so rich, so good, that you just know everything you are going to read for a while now is going to feel like fast food after fine cuisine?

That’s how I’m feeling right now. I think I’ll stick to non fiction for a while till that feeling edges off.

A Superior Spectre is a superior work. Inventive, creative, original, unique – but more than all of that combined. This is true literature, wrapped up in the speculative fiction genre. It makes you feel, but even more lovely – if you ask me – it makes you think. And then think some more…..

I don’t want to write anything spoilery about this. Readers should enjoy that journey for themselves, and there is no way I’m going to summarise it in any sense that would do it justice. But I do want to write about the experience of reading this work.

It’s a rare thing for a book to sit so perfectly in the contradiction of being both personal, intimate and immersive while at the same time being universal, philosophical and external, but this book does just that. As the two main characters become increasingly inter-twined by the plot’s neuroscience, I found myself haunted by them. And I think I will stay haunted for some time, most of all by how they both examined their own lives, their own feelings, with such acute insight.

It seemed the perfect pairing, no matter how much damage the manner of the connection might have caused. In her two protagonists Angela Meyer created an effortless symbiosis. I am not sure if it was intentional, but both characters were inward explorers. The woman wished to understand the inner workings of the human form. The man wanted to excavate and maybe eventually conquer his own deeply hidden heart and desires. They both looked inward, and drew us in.

I love writing like this. I want writing that will take me outside of myself, then back within myself – something that makes me compare the fictional with my own reality. I think literature serves that purpose for us – it does more than entertain. It enlightens us, showing us something about ourselves through the lens of others. And while this novel definitely entertains – it also provides that ‘something more’ that lifts it above just its story.

Put simply, this book is superb. It will satisfy lovers of speculative fiction/science fiction and even the supernatural, for it has elements of all. But it will also satisfy those who favour reality and psychology rather than magic and fantasy. That’s just another of the contradictions it so effortlessly seems to balance. For me, I love both types of books, so it was perfect all round.

I look forward to reading other works by Angela Meyer. What an exciting new voice to discover!

Posted in Conversation, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments



Image credit: Zharinova Marina/

I am rising, floating above it all
Perfect symmetry
I hear angels singing
Saying I won’t fall
Won’t fall

I am flying, freer than a bird
Arcing ‘cross the sky
Whispering a secret
Only I have heard
Have heard

I am praying deep within my heart
Rehearsed litany
Waiting for the sign
This is where I start
I start

I am grateful even as a breathe
All my needs here met
Heaven is a beacon
I will never leave
Never leave

( c) Helen Valentina 2018

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Late Afternoon


Image credit:Ulmus Media/

Late afternoon along the pier
I found a wondrous silence here
And everything became so clear
This perfect moment
In this perfect year

Such luminous clarity was mine
I felt the touch of the divine
And in my hands a truth entwined
This perfect moment
In this perfect year

Alone within this hemisphere
We float and dip in waters clear
We know not why we landed here
This perfect moment
In this perfect year

It does not matter whence we came
From world of ice or blazing flame
Or what our home or what our name
This perfect moment
In this perfect year

(c ) Helen Valentina 2018

Posted in Poetry, Water | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Accustomed to This Farce

With apologies to My Fair Lady…

I’ve grown accustomed to this farce
It almost makes the day begin
I’ve grown accustomed to the lies
From fake beguiling eyes
The smears, the snark, the bite, the bark
Are second nature to them now
We see that truth’s no longer ‘in’
So serenely hypocritical they point their fingers so
Accusing others of their sins they’ve nowhere else to go
Till we’re accustomed to their play, accustomed to their force
Accustomed to this farce

I’ve grown accustomed to the shows
And the fake news media spin
I’ve grown accustomed to dismay
When it gets worse every day
The lies replete are on repeat
It’s second nature to them now
To raise the stakes beyond all sense
I’m very grateful that they’re crazy and so easy to dismiss
Rather like regret we feel from sweet betrayal’s kiss
But I’m accustomed to the threat of something in the air
Accustomed to them there.


Posted in Poetry, Water | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments



Image credit: iceman photos/

I need a holiday
Somewhere far away
Somewhere I’d never go
A beach with blazing sun
Where I meet everyone
Without pretense and so

I need to take a break
To a world without mistakes
The paper and pen
No longer king
I want to find the sun
Where each and everyone
Can be and do and say
Most anything

I need a holiday
Somewhere exotic far away
A place where I may find
Perfect rest
I know this place is there
Where I need never care
To be the first, the smartest
Or the best

(c. ) Helen Valentina 2018

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Be A Storm


Image credit: Rasica/

Be a storm in my life she begged
I have lived too long
In quiet solitude
My shutters drawn
Against the weather
All its forms
And so now I grow weary
Of my comfort
And I yearn
For the storm

Make me feel beyond endurance
Lift me up
And throw me to the winds
So that in the tumult
I’m reborn
Be the storm

Only in the blinding moment
Of the tempest can I wake
To see my life renewed
And only this through you
So be the storm

(c ) Helen Valentina. 2018

Posted in Air, Poetry, Water | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments



Image credit: Jacob_09/

Judgement is most harsh
When it’s fair
Capturing the truth

Blind she holds the scales
Cannot see
Who bends at her feet

If the balance tips
Favours one
Of the powerful

Honesty will fall
Bleed away
Till we’ve lost it all

(c ) Helen Valentina 2018

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments



Image credit: Saltodemata/


Profundity of prose is not my goal
I rarely think of speaking to the wise
A poet’s words should ravage through your soul
And wake from sleep the dullest care-worn eyes
So if by chance some measured rhyme atones
For such deep seated lacks as found within
This isn’t any aim that I would own
I’d relish more the birthing of new sin
Derangement of the senses gives us more
Than solemn recitation lends the ear
I’d rather find there’s something to adore
In thoughts so crisp and honest angels fear
This poet needs no meaning here to say
I gather all my words and start to play

(c ) Helen Valentina 2018

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments



Image credit: wk1003mike/

These precious things
We tend
Patient and strong

Our seedlings small
Will grow
Before too long

Our silent voices
Yet will rise
To perfect song

And find our place
Our precious home
Where we belong

(c ) Helen Valentina 2018

Posted in Earth, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments



Image credit: kesipun/

I am peaceful
I am flying
Towards the horizon
The rising sun

I am grateful
So content
With bread I’ve baked
And cloth I’ve spun

I am ready
I am willing
To take the reins of
What’s begun

I am peaceful
I slept long
But now I’ve woken
To the sun

(c ) Helen Valentina 2018

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments