Thursday, October 22, 2015

Book Review: Theatre of the Gods, by M. Suddain

It’s been a busy time here at the ol’ radio ranch. Between my continuing job search, working on another writing project  (think crack whores with trust funds…) and learning to play the guitar, I’ve been pressed for time.

And then there’s the barely contained craziness that is M. Suddain’s Theatre of the Gods. If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll remember that my initial impressions were of a book written by the dream team of Douglas Adams, William S. Burroughs, and Jules Verne.  This book is that kind of weird, with a steampunk tinged magic realism fantasy thing, where starships resemble nothing less than huge sailing men-of-war and populations live on the inside of giant Dyson Spheres.

Enter the book’s primary protagonist, M. Franscisco Fabrigas, “philosopher, heretical physicist, and perhaps the greatest human explorer of all ages.” He is charged by his Queen to undertake a voyage of discovery to the universe next door. At this point in his life, this mission is something of a reprieve and a chance for vindication for Fabrigas, who has both been discredited and considered insane because he believes that he comes from a parallel universe that looks exactly like the one he currently occupies. Mix in a cast of characters that include a mysterious green girl, a plucky botanist, a teenaged ship’s captain, a stalwart bosun, and a crew of children, and you have memorable read.  Our heroes naturally face their share of villains, including the Queen’s scheming sisters, beings from beyond, killer plants, varying assassins, and vicious bounty hunters, just to name a few.

There’s a lot of fast and furious stuff going on here. But it’s much to the author’s credit that he effortlessly keeps the story moving along.   Theatre of the Gods is by turns well-written and inventive stuff.  It’s funny and occasionally eye-popping. If you like your science fiction literate with an extra dash of loopiness, then this book is for you.

Following up…

You’ll remember in my last post where I reviewed the latest installment in Charles Stross’s excellent Laundry Files, The Rhesus Chart that I somberly advised you that vampires don’t exist.

Well, I could be wrong. According to a recent report in the online Guardian, scientists are now looking at injecting of the blood plasma of young people into the bodies of the elderly as a possible way to reverse the aging process. But wait: isn’t that the whole raison d'ĂȘtre behind vampires? Said vampires using fresh blood to keep themselves perpetually young?  Vamprism aside, the implications of a society, where in the not too distant future, there is a class of the ultra-wealthy who maintain private blood banks to keep themselves young, are more than a little disturbing.

Through this all, we can be assured of one thing, of course: vampires don’t exist. Yet.

Meanwhile, you can help out a poor unemployed writer by purchasing Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.   Thanks.

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