Monday, September 2, 2013
Down the rabbit hole to tripping the acid fantastic
I first came across this song on Supernatural, the television show that ate my brain (not that I could spare the little grey cells, so little do I have them) in one of the most fabulous opening scene in the history of television. I love the imagery evoked by both the melody and lyric of this song; silk-wrapped menace stalking in the shadows on midnight, propelling you towards a path less travelled, much like the seduction of a pooka taking you on a midnight ride.
For the record, I have always found Alice in Wonderland (in whatever incarnation) truly creepy. Adventures are all fine and well, but seriously, the story is like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for children. Incomprehensible, fueled by mind altering substances, tripping you into dream-like experience that is quite likely to be damaging one way or another.
But all those are the reasons that make this song the perfect anthem to many urban fantasy novels. Simon R Green is a British novelist with more than two dozen novels under his belt. Mr Green first caught me with his Nightside series, a noir horror fest of a London underground parallel universe called the Nightside where it's always three o'clock in the morning. Gods and monsters abound in the Nightside, and everything is out to get you (literally).
I love the way he fleshed out this world with the Timeslips and aliens from other dimensions marching side by side with ancient evil and primordial soup fear distilled into its purest form. The protagonist, John Taylor, is a private investigator with an unusual gift, a sly tongue and a penchant for white trench coats. He tries to do the right thing, which could go horribly wrong in the Nightside. He often ropes in friends and enemies to help solve the case of the day; colourful characters like Dead Boy, Suzie Shooter, Razor Eddie, and many more. If you are a fan of noir, do give this series a shot.
Mr Green also have another series about the Drood family, chronicling the (mis)adventures of Edwin Drood AKA Shaman Bond, the man with the golden torc. The series is a nice rollicking adventure in the psychotic vein of the James Bond series, with over the top villains and crazy magical technology to add LSD to the action sequence. The series are fun to read, but re-reading value is rather low for me.
He has several other book series, but I've only come across the first book of the Ghostfinders series. Sadly, I don't find it as fun as John Taylor's investigations so I didn't bother with the rest. However, I am intrigued by the Deathstalker series, but not piqued enough to invest money for it.
All in all, if you're into urban fantasy and are looking for a new author to try, go ahead and give Mr Green a shot.