RARA-AVIS: Yule excursions

Myshmysh (Myshmysh@aol.com)
Mon, 12 Jan 1998 13:08:49 EST Blast! I got but a single book for the holidays and it wasn't even close to
HB (a biography of Emerson--which pleases me when I'm not Avian, but bores me
when I am).

However, spending time in my parents house, sleeping in the attic, prompted me
to dig through some of my old boxes in search of my comic book collection.
It's amazing how non-violent the 80s seem compared to today's comics. I blame
Frank Miller.

Which prompts a mention a hard-boiled mid-80s book called Grimjack which
stretched _my_ conception of violence in the genre. Somebody died, often
horribly, in every issue. Published by First Comics and created, I believe,
by Timothy Truman, it featured a PI named John Gaunt, nicknamed Grimjack on
account of his murderous disposition and nasty smile. He wandered through a
city called Cynosure that exists in every dimension at once, which allowed the
writers to change the laws of physics/nature at will. Fortunately, a blade
works everywhere. There were femme fatales, corrupt politicians, missing
persons, robberies gone wrong, illegal blood-sports, a seedy bar and haunted
pasts. Great stuff for a young teen and still loads of fun, though the
arbitrary use of the cityscape started to annoy after a couple of hours.

I also dug through some paperbacks and ran across something that might be of
interest to more Avians: a novel called _The_Night_Mayor_ by Kim Newman.
Science fiction, but a non-stop allusion to every noir film you can think of
(well, y'all are better viewed than the average bear, so you'd think of a few
Newman missed I'm sure). The premise of the novel is that a master criminal
"escapes" from prison by entering a virtual reality state and then uses his
mind to create a noir universe for himself. The authorities send in some
professional "Dreamers" (virtual reality artists) to bring the crook back. As
the master-criminal has based his universe on the conventions of the noir
flick, the Dreamers who go after him have to conform, so one goes in as a PI
figuring that by the conventions he _has_ to win . . .

Despite the laudatory blurbs all over it, I didn't find the novel as a whole
that interesting. However, the scenes in the City (where it's always 2:30am
and raining) were fun. Avians might get a kick. Reminded me of movies I need
to rent. _The _Night_Mayor_ by Kim Newman was originally published in 1990 by
Carroll&Graf and in paperback in 1992. Look for it used.

I'd love to close with something about _The _Drowning_Pool_, but, damnation
and hellfire, that's not one of the MacDonald's I've read or own. Off to the


PS Happy Anniversary! Despite my penchant for only posting when I disagree
with someone (new year's resolution: say something nice), I enjoy this list
immensely and am constantly impressed with the erudition of its members. May
we never find the rara avis so the search itself can continue!
# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to majordomo@icomm.ca.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.vex.net/~buff/rara-avis/.