All Saints’ Day: A Review of Creeping Jenny, by Jeff Noon

Detective fiction takes many forms in literature, and indeed can encompass many other genres as well.  Some prefer the straight-forward, hard-boiled mystery novels featuring rugged private eyes taking on shadowy government agencies or powerful corporations.  Others prefer the more humorous satires, or the always enjoyable mixtures with fantasy.  Sometimes, the mystery takes place in the modern day, other times in a far-flung science-fiction setting.  Others, such as the tales woven by Jeff Noon, prefer to focus on the slightly supernatural, but always mind bending.  The mysteries can be likened to the stories written by authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, whose mortal main characters frequently questioned, or lost, their sanity in the face of such unknowable mysteries.

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Victorian Robin Hood: A Review of Spellbreaker, by Charlie N. Holmberg

Western fiction, English and American, possess an endless fascination with the Victorian era of England’s recent history.  With a reign lasting from 1837 to 1901, Queen Victoria was the longest reigning English monarch until the current Queen Elizabeth II.  During that time, the British Empire rose to what could be considered its height, with the East India Company conquering India and the empire subjugating people around the globe.  Yet, this was also a transformative time for England and much of the world.  Electrical power began to be harnessed, with lightbulbs becoming widespread by the end of the century.  It was the beginning of modern medicine, when the United States finally threw of the evil shackles of slavery, and more.  More than any other time period in England’s past, authors have enjoyed setting tales of science-fiction and fantasy in the Victorian era.  Maybe it has something to do with the advent of such stories during this time, or it could just be fun to juxtapose the uptight era with the absurdity of magic.  Whatever the case may be, Charlie N. Holmberg’s excellent Spellbreaker is the newest in Victorian fantasy.

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