Monday, February 28, 2022

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 2/26/20

I am lazy by nature - my guess is that most people are, but don't like to admit it. So a week like this is my favorite: I got exactly one book in the mail, so I can do this weekly post but it shouldn't take too much time.

And if the book looks exciting and fun, well, that's a really nice bonus, isn't it?

Last Exit is the new novel by Max Gladstone, a Boston-area novelist and game developer best known for co-writing This Is How You Lose the Time War with Amal El-Mohtar, for his "Craft Sequence" secondary-world mechanized-fantasy series, and for winning a number of major awards (at least the Hugo and Nebula).

I have several of the Craft books sitting on my groaning shelves, but only managed to read the first one of them, Three Parts Dead, about a decade ago. They've always looked very much like my sort of thing, so I keep thinking of Gladstone as a writer that I want to read, even if the actual execution is pretty weak so far.

Anyway: that's me. He's clearly good at this fiction-writing stuff.

Last Exit seems to stand alone, and to be Gladstone's first fantasy novel set clearly in the contemporary world. (I gather his previous novel, Empress of Forever, is mostly far-future and mostly SF.) The back cover copy is vague, but it sounds like a secret-history-of-the-world background: there is magic, or monsters, or some mixture of pieces of multiple fantasy ideas. A group of young people discovered their secrets, about a decade ago, and thought they could use their knowledge for good.

They were wrong. It sounds like they were badly wrong. And now the survivors, or maybe one in particular, is going to have to face whatever it was that happened ten years before, because the same thing - or something related, new, and worse - is about to happen again.

As I said: it looks like Gladstone has tricks up his sleeve; this is all vague.

(The whole thing is giving me Tim Powers vibes, and the title and some of the description sounds like it's about roads, maybe particularly American roads. So this may intersect interestingly with Power's recent Alternate Routes.) 

Last Exit was just published, about a week ago, in both trade paperback and flowing-electrons formats. You can grab it right now if it sounds intriguing.

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