Saturday, December 09, 2006

Book-A-Day #145 (12/8): Majestrum by Matthew Hughes

I really wish more people would buy Matt Hughes's books. He's gotten called "the new Jack Vance" a lot, which is a great compliment (hardly anyone can write like Vance, even if they try), but it does tend to make him sound more like a slavish imitator than he actually is. (And his books have been getting less specifically Vancean as he's gone along; this one felt purely Hughesean to me.)

This is the fourth novel (and the fourth-and-two-thirds book, if you count most of The Gist Hunter and Other Stories) set in Hughes's very, very loose far-future series. (The first two books, Fools Errant and Fool Me Twice, have the same main character, but Black Brillion is mostly unconnected to any of the others.) Majestrum is loosely connected to the Fool books, in a way that doesn't require you to know anything about those books (and the ties don't actually come in until most of the way through the novel, anyway). It's more closely tied to the earlier stories of Hengis Hapthorn, Old Earth's greatest freelance discriminator (collected in Gist), but I don't think you need to have read those, either. Basically, Majestrum is a detective novel set on an extremely far-future Earth. It's not deadly serious, but it's not as funny as the earlier books -- I do miss the funny stuff a bit, but I guess you can't be silly all the time.

And I suspect there will be more Hengis Hapthorn novels (I probably wouldn't have to suspect, if I could remember what the Night Shade Boys had told me), so you'd better start buying them now, when there's just one and it's easy to remember the title. Trust me; it's just easier this way.

The Fabulous Book-A-Day Index!

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