A story about politics (local and international, mundane and supernatural) written in the narrative style of an 8-year old in the throes of a biblical sugar-high, Rhys Hughes’ the Young Dictator is by far one of the oddest genre books I’ve read.
The Young Dictator follows the adventures of Jenny Khan (possibly related to Temujin, the artist-formerly-known-as-Genghis) and her Gran as they establish a short-lived totalitarian dictatorship, flee to alien worlds, take over the Galaxy and find themselves causing an untold number of shenanigans.
While the book is fast-paced, endlessly imaginative and above all a lark to read, it should come with a warning: Rhys Hughes’ writing is above eccentric. That doesn’t make it borderline late-Doom-Patrol-era Grant Morisson unreadability, but its speed and the manner of its narrative can take a lot out of an unsuspecting reader. As the book is written from the perspective of an 8-year-old girl, the story takes odd twists and turns that are based on daily mysteries that a child her age might encounter, appearing in rapid-fire succession. As soon as you have caught on to this little factoid, then the entire reading experience becomes a roller-coaster ride through Candyland.
So if you are in the mood for a tale for adults narrated by a child and restructured by a surrealist Welshman, then the Young Dictator is the book for you.