My apologies for the lack of updates. I just started a new job, it managed to keep me occupied for days on end. But now that I’m starting to get into the groove of things I’m having more spare time to work on the comic. Expect updates within the week.
The Night Mayor
The City, a hellish place dominated by perpetual night and a slew of clichés. The City isn’t real, it’s a dream. Truro Daine a notorious criminal has managed to escape his prison by creating the City, in this virtual landscape he reigns supreme. Daine has the Talent, but he’s not the only one capable of shaping dreams. Enter Susan Bishopric and Tom Tunney, two professional dreamers. They have been called in to put an end to Truro’s reign as Night Mayor, and to stop his dream world from spilling over into the most sophisticated Artificial Intelligence this side of the Grand Canyon. Once inside Truro’s dream the Susan and Tunney realize that this isn’t going to be an easy task.
The Night Mayor is a fun little book. Kim Newman’s style has a certain flair to it. He knows how to set a mood using vivid descriptions and iconic imagery. The City is a place based on the old Noir-movies from the thirties and forties. Using those movies as a backdrop, Newman creates a black-and-white world that has all the stylistic conventions of the genre, and then proceeds to mercilessly poke fun at them. Newman isn’t playing it all for laughs, as he takes his time to work in the various details and drops a multitude of names in the process, it becomes clear that this book is very much an ode to the old genre. It becomes clear early on that Newman really does have a heart for this sort of thing.
That also brings up the weakest point of the novel. At times it felt as if I was ploughing through a lengthy field of references I didn’t quite get. This is something that has popped up in Newman’s other novels, most notably his Anno Dracula series.
The difference here is that in Anno Dracula the references are part of the story and they don’t hinder the plot or the main characters. The Night Mayor actually manages to suffer under the weight of the references. Bogart is there, Rooney, Flynn, and countless others, not just the names of the actors, but also the names of the characters they played. They’re brought up as characters in the background, characters that are only there to hammer home the fact that the setting iss based on old movies. The City is a cliché and all the characters in it suffer the same fate of being clichés. It’s intentional, but it’s not quite working out the way they’re intended. Instead of adding to the scenery, they end up distracting, they break the flow of the story.
Other than that, the novel itself is pretty light reading. The pace is decent, the language flows from one page to the other, and there’s enough action and mystery to urge the reader to continue reading. There’s not a whole lot of depth to the characters or the story, but it’s not pretending that there is. The novel is aware of what it is, and it simply runs with that premise. No deeper meaning, no hidden message, just an enjoyable story with a very clear background and a couple of clever twists throughout the various action-scenes.
It’s a passionate love letter to the greats of a nearly dead cinematic genre, but with a definite wink and a subtle nudge. It’s a dynamic little book that isn’t ashamed of itself.
Recommended if you love Film Noir and Science Fiction.
7 out of 10