The Necromancer, book four in Michael Scott’s “Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel” series, is officially out this week. I want to say this is the best book yet, but of course, when you’re into a series, you always think that the last one you read is the best.
I’ve been trying to figure out why I enjoy this series so much. Part of the fun, for sure, is imagining that Machiavelli is riding around in a Town Car, that Shakespeare is still writing plays, that Billy the Kid is still an outlaw. For kids (and grown-ups) who love history, this is a treat. What it really comes down to, I think, is that I’m a big learning nerd. I love books that want me to seek out other books. Even if I never have the time to read stacks of additional books about Scott’s immortals and beasts, or to go back and piece together the set-up for what happened in this book, or what may happen in Book 5, I know I probably could.
When Scott talked to us last year about the series, he went into some detail about how he writes the books, which gives a clue to why they’re so much fun:
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WHAT ARE THE GREAT RURAL FANTASY NOVELS?
Enough of this Urban Fantasy malarkey, because I’m now interested in Rural Fantasy.
I’ve written a Book Club feature for SFX Magazine, on Mythago Wood, by Robert Holdstock. I hope I’ve done Mythago Wood justice, and that I’ve served Robert, who sadly died not that long ago, as well as he deserves. I think I sufficiently explored the numerous themes within, pleasing the many fans of this novel, whilst also exciting any potential new readers. As an aside, before he passed away, I was lucky enough to have exchanged a few emails with him, and I browsed through these hoping to glean something for the article (unsuccessfully) but found the experience of reading the emails of someone no longer with us remarkably poignant. The digital age preserves everything.
I’ll give no detail here on what I’ve written for the article, but if you’ve read and admired the book, why not pop along to the SFX forum page, and leave a comment, since I believe they use some of the forum comments to feature alongside the print edition.
Where are the great Rural Fantasy novels?
I’d love to compile a list of Rural Fantasies – stories which depend upon and inherently involve the natural environment, rather than those which merely use it as a casual backdrop, scenery through which the characters stroll. And also, I’d be more interested in narratives that veer away from folk tales as such, because I can easily see how, for example, the Brothers Grimm have left their mark upon literature.
In the contemporary genre form, I guess Rural Fantasy novels are rarer by far than Urban Fantasy because city populations are obviously denser, therefore (a) there are more people to tell stories about, more human interactions to inspire thought, and (b) statistically, a lot more writers grow up with bricks and concrete around them, and their relation to that environment is more easy to explore – leaving nature a relatively wild and untamed part of the genre.
Or maybe that’s all complete nonsense and it’s simply down to Buffy.
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DAVID J WILLIAMS THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT
The release today of David J. Williams’ The Machinery of Light completes the science fiction trilogy that began with 2008’s The Mirrored Heavens and last year’s The Burning Skies, both of which were covered on Omnivoracious as examples of intelligent, exciting near-future SF.
Set in a 22nd century divided by a Second Cold War into two rival superpowers, Williams’ new novel tells the story of the Rain’s ignition of total war across the Earth-Moon system between the United States and the Eurasian Coalition, and the desperate scramble by a motley crew of agents and hackers to uncover the final secret of the mastermind behind the Rain’s creation. Previous novels chronicled the Rain’s downing of a space elevator and their attack on an O’Neill cylinder, and focus on the fate of Claire Haskell, a rogue cyborg/supercomputer whose altered memory may hold the key to defeating the Rain.
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What do you think of today’s Book news? What do you think makes a good rural fantasy?
Join us in the forum to discuss!