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Andrez Bergen

Another Sky Press (2011)

ISBN: 9780984559701

Reviewed by Guy Salvidge

Andrez Bergen’s novel, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, was released by Another Sky Press earlier this year. Billed as “Blade Runner with a touch of Sam Spade”, the novel fuses the tropes of the science fiction and detective genres (hardly a new idea in itself) and ends up being something genuinely different from either. And that’s always a good thing. Partly this is because of the post-apocalyptic Melbourne setting, where it never seems to stop raining, but mostly it is due to Bergen’s extensive (and I mean extensive) film references in the novel.

Our P.I.’s name is Floyd and he’s an unhappy sort. He has a sick wife named Veronica who is hospitalised and may soon die. He has a job seeking out deviants, and for this he has ‘The Guide to Deviant Apprehension & Containment’, with its mantra of ‘Seek, Locate, Apprehend, Contain, Terminate [if necessary].’ Basically he’s a bounty hunter, and he’s none too happy about it, hence the copious amounts of alcohol that spill from Floyd’s pores and from these pages. Sometimes he is forced to undergo ‘The Test’, a virtual reality plane where he is subjected to various questions and challenges set by his nefarious employers. Floyd hates his job but he has to continue doing it to pay for Veronica’s ‘Hospitalization.’

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