logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Speculative-Fiction
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-22 18:41
Made to Kill / Adam Christopher
Made to Kill: A Novel (L.A. Trilogy) - Adam Christopher

Raymond Electromatic is good at his job, as good as he ever was at being a true Private Investigator, the lone employee of the Electromatic Detective Agency--except for Ada, office gal and super-computer, the constant voice in Ray's inner ear. Ray might have taken up a new line of work, but money is money, after all, and he was programmed to make a profit. Besides, with his twenty-four-hour memory-tape limits, he sure can keep a secret.

When a familiar-looking woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to find a missing movie star, he's inclined to tell her to take a hike. But she had the cold hard cash, a demand for total anonymity, and tendency to vanish on her own.

Plunged into a glittering world of fame, fortune, and secrecy, Ray uncovers a sinister plot that goes much deeper than the silver screen--and this robot is at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

 

I read this to fill the Modern Noir square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I became kinda fond of Raymond Electromatic by the end of this novel. He’s a robot with a heart for gold and limited short term memory. The author made it clear that he was a great admirer of Raymond Chandler and the noir detective genre, but that he was trying to write “Raymond Chandler’s lost science fiction novel.” Unfortunately for Mr. Christopher, it is extremely difficult to write as beautifully as Raymond Chandler. However, I can tell that he had a good time trying.

Things get a bit complex and confusing about 2/3 of the way through, but everything sorts itself out in the end. There are more books in the series if you’re a fan, but I think I know Mr. Electromatic well enough at this juncture. A fun Halloween read.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-14 23:22
"The Ballad Of Black Tom" by Victor LaValle
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle

"The Ballad Of Black Tom" is a powerful novella which appropriates H, P, Lovecraft's occult lore and ancient gods and places a young black man at the centre of the story. 

 

I'm not a Lovecraft fan but I was fascinated by the way Victor LaValle took possession and Lovecraft's world and used it to explore a black man's rage at how he and his father are treated by the white men.

 

In less than 150 pages, we follow Charles Thomas Tester's transformation from a savvy twenty-year-old hustler with a passing knowledge of the occult and a flair for dissembling to Black Tom, a bringer of death and a herald of doom. The means for this transformation comes from occult knowledge provided acquired from the rich power-hungry white people who buy his time. The motive for the transformation comes from the contempt and violence he receives from the white men around him.

 

The text is vivid and full of energy. LaValle perfectly captures the sense of threat a lone black man experiences when venturing outside of Harlem. The scene where Tester learns of the brutal act of violence by a white private detective is chilling and makes a perfect trigger for his transformation into Black Tom.

 

Towards the end of the novella, Tester reflects on his own transformation into a monster by the way in which white people saw him, saying of white people:

“Every time I was around them, they acted like I was a monster. So I said goddamnit, I’ll be the worst monster you ever saw!”

He also recognises that his rage has cost him his connection with his own community and stripped him of his humanity.

 

H. P. Lovecraft's racism is well known so it interested me that the racist white private detective's surname is Howard, which was Lovecraft's first name.

 

Diverse Voices Mike Finn Halloween Bingo Card-002I read "The Ballad Of Black Tom" for the Diverse Voices square for Halloween Bingo

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-13 23:15
Reading progress update: I've read 38%.
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle

Debbie of Debbie's Spurts put me on to this book yesterday and I couldn't resist starting it.

 

Published in 2016 this novella calls on Lovecraftian lore but has a black man as the main character and is set in 1920's New York City.

 

The text is full of energy. It does a great job of showing how alien and alone a black man could feel outside of Harlem and it builds a strong main character. I'm enjoying it more than I ever enjoyed Lovecraft.

 

I'm thinking of using this for the Diverse Voices square.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-08 15:56
Reading progress update: I've read 81%.
The Mermaid's Madness - Jim C. Hines

Perhaps current events are shaping my reaction to this book but I'm struck by the vein of sadness that runs through the book whenever we get to how these women have been treated by the powerful, especially powerful men. The book is filled with strong women but almost all of them have been damaged or at least wounded by their encounters with people who fail to see them as fully human.

 

I admire JIm C. Hines' ability to write a rollicking tale with mermaids and selkies and sea battles that has a fast pace and is lubricated with humour and yet still bring the reader back time and again to realistic sources of pain.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-05 00:33
Reading progress update: I've read 28%.
The Rules of Magic: A Novel - Alice Hoffman

Perhaps it's that I'm listening to this while driving or because I haven't read "Practical Magic" but the storytelling seems to be at arms-length from the characters.

 

It's as if there's a good plot and a great cast but lousy camera work.

 

I hope it becomes more personal as it moves along.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?