Monday, 26 August 2013

Kaleidoscope by Adam S. Leslie

Step outside...

Peter Tobey lives an idyllic existence of energy drinks, mindless television sitcoms, phobia-induced hypersensitivity – and shopping.

Into his world comes Kaleidoscope, a sinister, addictive sitcom that turns bright, happy shoppers into lethargic drones.

Peter realises that he and his small group of friends must make the ultimate sacrifice: end Kaleidoscope, flee their beloved shopping centre, and be the first people in generations to step Outside into the great unknown...

Kaleidoscope is a pulsating blend of magical realism, dystopian fantasy adventure, satire, trash culture, science fiction, post-modern horror, and the childhood fever in which you and your family have been trapped for the last thirty years.  

Published by Crooked Cat Publishing.

Buy at:
 Amazon UK
Amazon US  

A product of the 1970s, Adam S. Leslie is made up of ochres, browns, oranges and olive-greens.  By day he is a novelist, screenwriter and musician; by night he is much the same, only in the dark.
Adam is a peddler of magical-realism – his influences include the mysterious voices he hears as he drifts off to sleep, childhood fevers and the nightmares he struggles to remember when he wakes.
He is engaged in a number of top secret film and television projects, still finds time to work on his sprawling four-part epic novel Blinsby, but hasn’t found the time yet to release his debut album Berlin Horse, which is neither about Germany nor horses.

Adam’s debut novel is the kaleidoscopic science-fiction fantasy, Kaleidoscope.

Find Adam at: 

Read on for a fantastic excerpt from Kaleidoscope...

Peter glanced down at his paper. The headline was, ‘YOU WILL SEE SOMEONE DIE TODAY’.
He didn’t know how to react or what to think. It wasn’t what he was looking at a moment ago. He’d been reading an interesting article about phobias. He flipped the paper around a few times, but all he could find was ‘YOU WILL SEE SOMEONE DIE TODAY’ in large black type at the top of the page.
That wasn’t right.
At the same time, he became aware of something wrong with the crowds ahead of him. He wasn’t sure what, it was nothing specific, just a feeling, a nagging blind spot of doubt. Somewhere in all those shifting shapes something was horribly awry.
His misgivings were answered with a blur of commotion and the sickeningly truncated sound of a woman’s scream. A body fell to the floor. Then a man appeared, a man with empty, hollow eyes holding a woman’s neatly-severed head by the hair. On her face was a look of utter disbelief, as if she could barely comprehend what just happened. Her mouth was trying to say something, but the larynx and lungs were no longer there.
Two Centre Security personnel appeared and shot the man down. A scream of discharging pistols mingled forever with a final scream of pain, and it was all over.
Time seems to be going backwards, was all Peter could think as the afternoon shoppers returned to their shuffling procession, edging past the two bodies in an embarrassed ballet of broken strides, hoping that they wouldn’t have to acknowledge the shattered corpses or believe what they had just seen.
The two Centre Security people had the head at their feet and were discussing it in earnest. Seconds later, Cal Pryce and Harriet Hellings arrived. Cal thoughtfully nudged the head with the toe of his boot.
‘WHAT’S YOUR PHOBIA?’ the headline on the paper said. Large black type at the top of the page. Nothing about seeing someone die, nothing else but the article he had been reading moments before.
Beetles, was all Peter could think as his brain whirled in amazement like some ghastly wheel of fortune. I hate beetles.
A huge, soil-brown beetle was crawling across the page towards him.

That afternoon Peter slept.

This dream is proud to be sponsored by Marimon’s Burgers & Pizzas – eat at Marimon’s, you useless bloody knucklehead.

A single lucid dream. A dream as clear as the spring showers that fell like glass confetti in the Green Zone gardens.
Peter was at a picnic by a beautiful riverside, his hands rummaging through a wicker basket filled with brightly coloured cakes. Occasionally he would take a bite but none of the cakes had any flavour, except sometimes they were a bit salty.
If he concentrated he could feel the warm sun in patches on his face, down by his chin or up on his forehead. He tried to move his head so the heat covered his whole face, but every time the sun just seemed to slip out of the way.
The heat was nice, but the sun was too bright and scorched the sky black. It burnt Peter’s eyes too. Soon all he could see were dim shapes around the edges of his vision, vague trees and metal pylons against a horizon like water; but by now he knew he was dreaming and he felt relaxed and filled with peace.
There were other people with him, laughing in the bright daylight. At first he thought they were a famous group of people – like the friends in Friends With High Trousers or the heroic soldiers whose weekly hijinks comprised Erect And Able, Sgt Patterson – such was the powerful bond between them. They were inseparable, their camaraderie impenetrable. Peter was in awe of how close they were.
Then he realised they were the other conspirators, the other instigators of The Plan, and that he too was part of this group. The group was incomplete without him; without him the powerful bond was nothing.
Peter was no longer lost and alone. Now he knew he belonged. Together they could take on the world.
From the corner of his eye he could see Robbie’s face. The boy’s flesh was torn and there were streams of purple blood running down his cheeks, but he was happy and giggling. Somebody else was telling jokes. The jokes didn’t make sense, but the group were all laughing, even Peter. They were laughing so hard they couldn’t stop; and soon they had forgotten about the jokes and were laughing out of love for each other. Peter rested his head on someone’s lap, it was one of the girls.
There was a dog, Peter now realised. A black dog.
It was running around the picnickers, pestering them for scraps of food, jumping up at their faces. It scuttled over and nipped at Peter’s face and the tip of his nose, making him feel claustrophobic and helpless. It scampered away and sat by a tree to watch him, its eyes gnawing into him. Looking closer he saw that there was urine pouring from a hole in its belly, like someone had left a tap on.
Beside the dog, carved into the tree, was a strange organic-looking symbol.

At that point, the clarity of the dream slipped away and Peter awoke. For a few moments he was lost in the smog of slumber, then gradually became aware that he was being watched.
A dog! A scrawny grey mongrel, not the same animal from his dream but a dog nonetheless, and it was sitting at the foot of his bed, watching him.
Peter couldn’t move, his joints locked in fear, his heart pounding its way out of his ribcage, Peter Peter Peter Peter Peter Peter. He knew nothing of dogs, this was the first time he had seen one up close: a living creature disturbing the geometry of his room. It must have come up from the Outer Zones – that had been known to happen on occasion – though how it found its way into his locked apartment was anyone’s guess.
Peter propped himself up on his elbows. The dog bolted, sprinting from the room and through the door.
The door was half open.

Great reading!  My best wishes for huge success with Kaleidoscope, Adam. 



  1. Makes for intriguing reading! Good luck with the book Adam!