One

Virgin Books, 2009

“It should come as no surprise to admirers of Conrad Williams that his latest novel One – which is half postapocalyptic road trip and half decidedly un-cozy catastrophe – is a bleak and harrowing thing, as Williams specializes in such scenarios. More impressive is the power of the narrative engine, especially in the first half, which drives the story relentlessly forward. The novel as a whole is balanced on a thin edge between impossible hope and hopeless despair, a feat of dynamic equilibrium that seems more admirable the longer I think about it.”
Tim Pratt, Locus

One is an intriguing blend of horror and science fiction that really kept me turning the pages to find out not only how it all ended but how it all began as well…” 8.5/10
Graeme Flory, graemesfantasybookreview.com

“One is a significant contribution to an illustrious post-apocalyptic tradition that includes Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (1954), John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids (1951), Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker (1980), Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002). Whereas there is often a sense of distance between the reader and the devastated world of the protagonist in post-apocalyptic narratives, Williams grabs you by the hair and forces you to stare at the more grisly elements of this mortally wounded world. As a result One packs an enormous emotional punch. In short, One is an absolute triumph: a novel that shows that literary horror still holds enormous potential to move and challenge its readership.”
David McWilliam, Strange Horizons

“One is a new, refreshingly literate take on the post-apocalyptic struggle. Williams has proven he is up there with the heavyweights in horror literature, and has shown the quality of work that can still be drawn from an often used scenario (the apocalypse). I can’t wait for more from this author.”
Craig Bezant, Horrorscope

“One is more than just a post-apocalyptic scenario or a horror novel. It is unfair to imprison it in the boundaries of these genres, because many readers will miss it because of this. Conrad Williams created a memorable novel, a powerful story that will haunt the reader long after it is finished.”
Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews

“At its heart, One is a story about parents, children and family. What lengths would you go to in order to save your family? How far would you travel? Richard Jane is every parent while Stanley is every child. In my opinion some of the best horror comes from placing ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. One has this in spades. Jane is forced to do anything he can in order to survive. If it came down to it would you be able to do the same? Insightful, exciting and tinged with sadness the only thing I regret about the novel is that I wish I had read it sooner.”
The Eloquent Page

“One, with its post-apocalyptic survivor story and strong reliance on the bond between father and son will might draw a direct comparison the more well-known, especially to the mainstream audience, The Road.  Where The Road, the bits of it I managed to get through, seems a tad embarrassed by its genre roots and post-apocalyptic predecessors One embraces both of those aspects while at the same time tackling a similar relationship.  Williams’ style, like-that of McCarthy, lends itself to a very dream-like state.  Both novels employ a third person limited narrative though where McCarthy deliberately grays out his characters (from what I read both are deliberately drawn to represent the any-man or any-son) Williams is very careful to create a distinct personality for both Jane and his son.  Similarly where McCarthy employs a very stark style to describe the world Williams employs a more detailed description to build a very specific world.  Both employ those elements to excellent effect though, in my case, the more deeply descriptive language used by Williams is more tolerable.

“One is a solid horror novel that takes a personal look at the apocalypse and the power of love and devotion to drive us forward.  While familiar in its approach to the end of the world Williams’ unique vision and evocative prose imbue what could have been a rote experience into something with a style and voice that sets it apart from similar titles.  A cast of vividly realized and realistic characters balance out and, frequently serve to call to attention the more fantastic elements of post-apocalyptic Great Britain.  While certainly not a fast read, Williams’ One is a deep, satisfying read that certainly will scratch your Post Apocalypse itch.”
King of the Nerds

“The first thing that impressed me about One was the opening chapter. Put simply, the first few pages contained some of the most exciting and effective opening action I’ve ever read… I really enjoyed One, depressing as it is. I also thoroughly enjoyed the way Mr. Williams writes. Full of juicy metaphors and similes, it felt at once traditional and uniquely effective. I’ll definitely be reading more works by Mr. Williams in the future.” 8/10
Speculative Fiction Junkie

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4 thoughts on “One

  1. Everything about this book is excellent. Harrowing yet full of hope. A new detail about survival, journey, change, every time you read it. Absolutely fantastic! You should be proud of this book.

  2. A brilliant UK book. As I said in my review:

    “Any book which makes me go to bed early to read it is already doing something right.
    This is The Road, set in Britain, but with correct use of apostrophes.
    Actually, that undersells it. It is its own complicated beast. But we travel with a father. Such an intense focus on one mind works for immersion, even if having an unreliable narrator sometimes irritates. It’s like being inside someone else’s head, wanting to control their body, to make them ask a question or look at a certain thing so you can find out more, but their head stubbornly refuses to move. It has its own agenda. You are a passenger, with your own intelligence, along for the ride.
    The prose is sparse and often beautiful.”

    It must be something about living in Manchester, finding the beauty in the horror. (I come from Cottonopolis).

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