Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Book review: Who is Tom Ditto?

Danny Wallace is best known for non-fiction books in which he takes on high-concept challenges; this venture into fiction also has a bit of a high-concept edge, as the lead character of Who is Tom Ditto discovers a subculture of people who literally follow and mimic strangers to try out their lives for size. Tom is a radio newsreader whose girlfriend disappears, leaving a cryptic note, and in the middle of trying to figure out what's happened to her he also has a number of high-profile mishaps at work. In the process he discovers that his girlfriend was part of this subculture of stalking and copying, and that he never really knew that much about who she really was. Enjoyable enough with a couple of good comic setpieces but it's not one that's likely to stick in my mind for long.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Book review: King of Hell

The seventh book in Christopher Golden's "Shadow Saga" series is also the final one; of course the third book was meant to be the last one as well and Peter Octavian still came back so you never know. After a sixth volume that didn't do much for me this conclusion is a lot better, as Peter travels across dimensions to free the friends who got trapped in Hell in previous installments, and in the process finds out who the titular King of Hell is.

Golden's been writing fantasy and horror novels for decades, and the twist here is that he uses the conceit of multiple universes to mix together every other novel or series he's ever created, each having taken place in a different dimension that Octavian and his newest companions go through. A couple of them become quite central to the plot, like characters from Soulless, his zombie uprising novel from a few years ago, and there's major players from one of his series that I haven't read, the "Menagerie" books; while others are more fleeting, like a tongue-in-cheek reference to his early novel Strangewood. It probably doesn't matter if you don't know any of the other series, although this being the last in the Shadow Saga it'd be a bit silly to read it without having read the previous six. I enjoyed this one more than the last couple but I think it's probably the right time to leave this particular universe be.