Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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Richard Chizmar's Chasing the Boogeyman is very well-written, but doesn't quite live up to the hype. The fictive pretense of it being a true crime means the author can cheat on things that would have made it a more interesting novel. However, the chilling parts are suitably chilling.

Hugh A.D. Spencer's Hard Side of the Moon certainly makes for an original read, a satiric, somewhat Vonnegutian tale of a small-town 70s college DJ, slacker, and artist who gets imprisoned on a forced-labor lunar colony run by a corrupt corporation with access to alien tech.

Reread China Mieville's The City & the City because I was leading a discussion of it. It's one of the most mind-bending SF/Fantasy reads of this century. The premise of two cities occupying the same location and "un-seeing" each other still resonates.

Currently reading W. Scott Poole's biographical account, Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror. Her story is interesting. Poole's analysis is astute, but not so astute that it bears repeating every single chapter.


I should say, of Chizmar's book, it has much to recommend it. He creates an excellent sense of a town rocked by an unknown killer. Several stories on the side-- an account by a Vietnam veteran with whom he once worked-- add to the sense of terror lingering below the surface of life. His own close encounters with the darkness work very well on their own, and the book proves a page turner. I had to read to the end..... where I felt a little disappointed.

THE CON by JD DeLuzio: I have been meaning to read this book for some time but I kept neglecting to order a copy. Then, when JD announced his second book would be coming out next March, I placed an Amazon order and received my copy of his first earlier this week. The story is set against the backdrop of a three-day sci-fi/fantasy convention at which Jane Austen cosplayers are as likely as Klingons (and everything in between, including an actual alien) to be seen in attendance. I own a Klingon dictionary and I have read Pride & Prejudice, so I considered myself well prepared to read this book.

On the other hand, for the last two big conventions that came around here, Tracy went with friends and I stayed home. This book added several words to my vocabulary and a new drink to my repertoire. Nevertheless, I could relate to about 95% of it. (Let's be honest: 90%.) The story is non-linear, character driven and told in mostly short, punchy chapters from multiple points of view. The characters are likeable and relatable, and JD's writing style is light and breezy. 

The "central" character (if such a book can be said to have one), is Telfryn Tyde; in any case, he is the one I related to the most. But as I read on, I think my favorite character became Mistie Matthews, a.k.a. Lady Susan Vernon, one of the "Janeites", named for the main character of one of Austen's lesser known novels. She is probably the most humorous character in the book, not because the chapters she narrates are laugh-out-loud funny, but because she stays so relentlessly in character throughout. 

The TV show The Big Bang Theory presents a skewed view of geek culture, I think, because not all nerds are Nobel Prize winners or neuroscientists or engineers. The Con depicts are group of friends and acquaintances who, while certainly intelligent, are just ordinary people. I wish I had paid closer attention early on when the characters (and there are a lot of them!) were being introduced, because I found myself having to go back and re-read multiple sections I had glossed over. 

The Con reminds me of equal parts Preternatural by Margaret Wander Bonano (which I'm sure some here are familiar with) and Vox Populi: A Novel of Everyday Life by Clay Reynolds (which I am sure no one is).  The main story is supplemented by two additional stories featuring some of the same characters and set in the same region as the first. The second of those has a surprise (to me!) ending. In his acknowledgements section, JD alludes to an anachronism in chapter seven which I did not catch, an "entertaining puzzle for the curious reader," the solution of which I will save for a future date.

He also mentions "others who still inhabit ancient online places from a time before social networking sites," some of whom I like to fancy I might know. BOTTOM LINE: I would recommend The Con to anyone who frequents this site. 

Thank you for the positive review and recommendation!

This particular tale does feature a lot of characters, perhaps too many. I wanted to capture the chaotic energy of a convention, and multiple characters increase the likelihood that the reader will relate to one of them.  There's a local girl writing a grade 11 essay on The Con (she contacted me awhile back), and she connected more with Chelsea and Kate, which I found quite gratifying. And, obviously, I don't mind if people reread. Telfryn's narration features some obscure puns, allusions, and so forth, and you never know when you might catch one that you missed and actually find worth the effort. I make no promises on that last point, however. You might just as likely complain of ocular strain from the resulting eye-rolling.

I own a Klingon dictionary and I have read Pride & Prejudice,

That makes two of us!

I'd never heard of Preternatural by Margaret Wander Bonanno, but I looked it up, and it's on my "to-read" list. Ditto the Clay Reynolds book.

In all seriousness, I really appreciate the response, which I find especially meaningful, coming as it does from one of those people who inhabit ancient online places. Salt of the web, they are.

"Telfryn's narration features some obscure puns, allusions, and so forth"

Some of those references are explained in context, others are not. I think I caught most of them, but there is one I'm sure I missed. (I neglected to make a note of it, however, and now I can't find it.) I told Tracy that The Con is for people familiar with conventions as well as the "con-curious."

"I'd never heard of Preternatural by Margaret Wander Bonanno, but I looked it up, and it's on my 'to-read' list."

Be aware that Preternatural has two sequels, Preternatural Too: Gyre and Preternatural3 (as in "cubed"). I found the first one to be much more dense in comparison to the sequels, but worth the effort. When you get around to reading it, I look forward to reading your thoughts here. Ditto Vox Populi. 

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