Thursday, January 13, 2011
This week, I want to talk about an author you might not have heard about unless you're into interactive gaming (which I'm not)--he seems to have moved on to the gaming world. But in the mid-1990s up through 2004, this Canadian fantasy author wrote some of my favorite urban fantasies...before urban fantasies were such hot stuff. And they've held up beautifully.
Between 1992 and 2004, Stewart released a number of stand-alone novels, most of which at the time were described as "urban realism," but which I'd consider urban fantasy now. The topics and ways he handles them are probably closer to Neil Gaiman's "literary urban fantasy" than anything else I've read.
Here are my favorites:
* The Night Watch, a dystopian. It's 2074 and magic has taken over. Machines have conquered the inner cities, children are sacrificed to gods and ghosts; and people enter the forest never to return;
* Mockingbird, in which a Houston girl inherits her mother's madness--and magic, and then things get shot to hell'
* Galveston, which I wasn't sure how to describe so I checked Stewart's website and it's described this way: "This is your Basic 'Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Everything, Girl becomes her Own Evil Twin, Boy Is Framed For Murder and Sent Along With Sidekick To Be Eaten By Cannibals, and Things Get Worse When The Weather Turns Bad' story."
* Perfect Circle, in which a 32-year-old Texan named William "Dead" Kennedy literally sees dead people, and they have some unfinished business.
Of all of those, Galveston is my favorite. Galveston is set on Galveston Island following a cataclysmic flood. Magic is on the loose, except in the town itself. where it coexists with a perpetual Mardi Gras on Stewart Beach. The poor, raggedy townspeople don't go there if they don't want to be swallowed up by the magic--only, of course, events conspire to send a young girl into the heart of magical Mardi Gras. You can read the first chapter of Galveston here.
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