Angry Robot is a new SF imprint that apparently thinks I have a much wider readership than I actually do, because they put me on their list for e-ARCs. Which is how I read Tim Waggoner's Nekropolis, forthcoming in paperback in August (UK) or October (US, Canada, Australia) (publisher page). This is an urban fantasy of the private-eye type, which I initially suspected came about when someone said, "Okay, vampires and werewolves and elves and demons and dragons have all been done, so . . . what's left? Oo! Zombies!" [*]
Nekropolis is a city in a different dimension to which all Earth's supernatural creatures decamped three hundred years ago, though they still have access to Earth. Which is where Matt Richter came in: he was a cop from Cleveland who chased a serial killer all the way back to Nekropolis and became the rare self-willed zombie in the process. Now he does favors for people in exchange for fees to help keep up his preservative spells, and a beautiful half-vampire damsel in distress named Devona needs his help.
Waggoner is clearly having a lot of fun coming up with ever-more-inventive variants on common urban fantasy/horror elements, sometimes mixing in technology (genetically enhanced shapeshifters, gangs of cyberpunk vampires) and sometimes just turning it up to eleven (bartender named Skully because, of course, he looks like a perfectly normal human except for the skull head; seven-foot silverfish in the Great Library, etc.). There's some personal development in among the scenery and action, too, which was in keeping with the genre—not surprising, but not offensive either. In other words, I was having a pretty good time . . . and then I got to the mystery's solution, which has resonances with actual social injustices that I found distracting and annoying. (It's theoretically possible that these might get explored in a way I find more satisfying in the two sequels, but I didn't get that sense from the text.) Oh well. It was at least a quick read, so that lessens my aggravation.
At any rate, if this is your kind of thing, you'll probably recognize it from this description, so keep an eye out.
[*] This is purely a hypothetical and likely wrong, since the book turns out to be an expansion of a 2004 small-press book that was conceived even earlier, i.e., probably before the serious urban fantasy/paranormal boom. But it was what I thought when I read the premise.
#1 :: Urilla wrote on April 26, 2009 at 7:50 PM:
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