Wednesday, November 24, 2010

May Contain Traces of Magic / by Tom Holt

Chris Popham is a fairly normal guy with some increasingly abnormal problems. A salesman of such magical, could-have-only-imagined-before products like the portable parking space, powdered water and insta-glam facial cream, he finds he's losing his touch a bit. The magic shops he sells to are having some issues of their own, but that doesn't seem to be any of his business. Or is it? He's also got women trouble. His longtime girlfriend Karen has been steadily falling out of love with him for some time while, at the same time, a trainee at work named Angela has the hots for him. Then his car's Satellite Navigation starts acting funny, talking back to him in rather uncustomary fashion. Things really start getting out of whack when he begins encountering demons both in person and on the frequency of his malfunctioning SatNav. While they don't seem to be after Chris personally, they're definitely in hot pursuit of something, a human they keep calling the "One who is to Come". With all the wierdness afoot, Chris starts to wish that things would go back to relatively normal day-to-day routine, something now seemingly impossible as circumstances in his life begin spinning ever more out of control.
Holt, author of the similarly wacky and brilliantly imaginative Blonde Bombshell: A Comedy of Intergalactic Proportions (FIC HOLT), has written in the the area of humorous SF and comedic fantasy for a while now and is definitely the way to go if you're in the mood for something completely different. Holt's a good writer though, part Douglas Adams part Neil Gaiman, he knows his subject matter (whatever it may be) and keeps his storyline intact and characters original proffering something wholly alternative to the world of Sci-Fi/Fantasy literature. Chris is a bit of an anti-hero and yet he's an easy protagonist to identify with and the author's sardonic voice brings him across well even amidst the crazy plot twists. Don't expect things to work according to the laws of physics however as things will definitely happen out of the ordinary sphere of conceptual reality and objects will most certainly contain 'traces of magic'. (SF HOLT)

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