Paxton, Hugh 1965(?)-
Paxton, Hugh 1965(?)-
Born c. 1965, in Aden, Yemen; married; wife's name Midori.
Journalist. Has worked in Tokyo, Japan, for twelve years, and as a correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corp.; currently journalist in Namibia.
Has won journalism awards.
Homunculus, Macmillan UK (London, England), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals in Namibia, as well as internationally, including the Japan Times.
Journalist Hugh Paxton was born in Aden, Yemen, during a highly charged political time. He has served as a correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), winning a number of awards for his writing and traveling extensively. Over the course of his career, he has spent time in a number of disparate locations, including living in Tokyo for approximately twelve years before he eventually settled in Windhoek, Namibia, living just outside of town on a ranch with his wife, Midori. Paxton made his fiction debut in 2007 with his novel Homunculus, a combination of fantasy and science fiction set in Sierra Leone during the civil war.
Homunculus, much of which is based on the true history of Sierra Leone, tells the story of a gruesome war that is even more horrible because of robots created from assorted body parts, wiring, and a dose of Ebola virus. These creatures are brought to life by a drunken Irish scientist who poses as a Roman Catholic priest named Father Jack; they are marketed to various warmongers around the world by a South American mercenary named Rindert. The project spans a number of countries, with Paxton sparing no nation's sensibilities in his effort to populate his tale with an assortment of colorful evil-doers and terrorist types. Other characters include General Butt Naked, who fans the flames of civil war. Many of these characters are also based on real-life individuals, as Paxton notes in the epilogue. The darkly magical aspects of the book arise from the fact that soldiers feared magic and witchcraft until quite recently, which would have made the voodoo in Paxton's tale doubly effective.
About Homunculus a Kirkus Reviews contributor commented: "Paxton's writing has a nervous energy that might have made us temporary believers if he had stayed focused. Unfortunately, he wanders all over the lot." Michael Allen, in a review for the Grumpy Old Bookman, called Paxton's effort "a black comedy which is very funny in places, an extremely violent techno-thriller, and an exposé, should you still need one, of the true nature of Africa today." New Statesman critic Victoria James remarked: "Here lies Paxton's achievement: he makes all this full-on nastiness not just compulsive reading, but actually bloody funny." She went on to conclude that "this book is gripping—in so many ways."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2007, review of Homunculus. New Statesman, July 31, 2006, Victoria James, "Frankly Nightmarish," review of Homunculus, p. 58.
Grumpy Old Bookman,http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/ (April 25, 2006), Michael Allen, review of Homunculus.
Japan Times Online,http://search.japantimes.co/ (January 28, 2007), Martin Webb, "From the Truth Comes Strange Fiction."
Pan Macmillan Web site,http://www.panmacmillan.com/ (February 23, 2008), author profile.