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Fiction Blog

Blockbusters and hidden gems in the literary world

Fun with Necromancers and Detectives

      I first made the acquaintance of Johannes Cabal a little while ago and given what I’ve read so far I’m expecting great things from this fascinating character. In a world rather like our own, but just slightly off-kilter regarding things like, say, the existence of magic and sorcery, Johannes Cabal is a Necromancer of ‘some little infamy’. In book two in his series he is also a detective.       The first in the series of Jonathan L. Howard’s Cabal novels sees our anti-hero in the midst of trying to outwit the Devil, get his soul back and run an infernal carnival. In his second outing (Johannes Cabal: The Detective) Cabal has more such fun activities on his agenda, such as resurrecting the deceased ruler of a mythical Ruritanian country, fighting a prolonged duel with a corrupt count (aren’t they all?), escaping from (and also causing) an uprising, sneaking aboard a dirigible-like ‘aeroship’ and, incidentally, solving a crime; and all because he got caught in said Ruritanian backwater trying to steal a rare tome – the Principia Necromantica.      Sound like fun? Well it is: full of clever word play and English dry wit. You’ll feel inclined…

Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Conversation

Chelsey: It may be near impossible to be a booklover/ bookseller and not know who Neil Gaiman is. His name seems to permanently own an entire shelf in the fantasy section of your local bookstore and at least one person working there has read every single one of them. A few months ago, I was one of those people who recognized his acclaimed literary prowess, but had not yet read any of his novels myself. I owned a few of his books, tirelessly recommended by so many fellow readers. However, it wasn’t until the synopsis of his newest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was released, that I fell in love. I HAD to read it. Chandra: Almost 13 years ago, and after recommendations from several friends, I read Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. It fundamentally changed the way I thought about stories and how to tell them. All of the things he writes speak to me. Not always in the same language or for the same reasons, but I finish his novels feeling like they made the world bigger—more frightening and wondrous—than it was before I read them. I’ve been waiting to read The Ocean at the…

Indigo Spotlight: Philipp Meyer's The Son

It’s a great thing, reading something and knowing, before you finish it, that your list of favourite books is probably changing. I wasn’t halfway through The Son before I knew it would be a favourite, as long as the novel’s conclusion is worthy of the buildup (spoiler alert: it is). By the end, I was thinking bigger: that the Great American Novel is alive and well – and this novel is an instant classic. And no, that is not a phrase I throw around lightly.  The Son follows a Texas family from the early 1800’s to March of 2011, focusing on three members of the McCullough family – starting with the patriarch and following subsequent generations. The novel opens with a prologue narrated by a 100-year-old Eli McCullough, born in 1836, the year that Texas was declared an independent state. From there, the novel shifts perspective, narrated in third person, to his great-granddaughter Jeanne Anne McCullough – this section opens with her in the family house, injured and possibly on the verge of death. Meyer reveals through flashbacks how Jeannie's life unfolded while overseeing the transition of family business from vast cattle ranch to oil empire – and how she reached…

Q & A with author John Scalzi

John Scalzi is the bestselling science fiction author of Old Man's War, The Last Colony, and Redshirts. He is also one of the coolest geeks around, and if you haven't paid a visit to his blog Whatever or followed him on Twitter, then you are missing out on some of the best and funniest blogging in the webosphere. His newest book, The Human Division, is actually the print edition of his most recent internet endeavour, a collection of 'episodes' based in the Old Man's War universe. John was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his book tour to answer a few of our questions.   Indigo Blog (IB): Human Division was written as an experiment in telling a story through episodes. It doesn't exactly mirror the structure of a TV show, or a traditional serial novel, but does sort of gently ease into a loose form. (Kind of like Jell-O salad, where there is an overall structure, but it contains different elements and is kind of wobbly and flexible. In a good way!) Is there anything you might have done differently, in hindsight? John Scalzi (JS): From a structural point of view, I don't think so. The…
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