There are at least a half-dozen passages sharp and stylish and apropos enough that it’ll be all you can do to keep from forcing them on friends, acquaintances, even strangers. The tone of the book has the strange off-kilter sensuality of, say, Jonathan Carroll, but more engaging, less foreboding, not as scary. It’s Doctorow’s third published novel. I enjoyed the first two; I love this one.
While I’m on the subect, check out the starred Publishers Weekly review (scroll down on the page) — holy smokes!
Starred Review. It’s only natural that Alan, the broadminded hero of Doctorow’s fresh, unconventional SF novel, is willing to help everybody he meets. After all, he’s the product of a mixed marriage (his father is a mountain and his mother is a washing machine), so he knows how much being an outcast can hurt. Alan tries desperately to behave like a human beingâ€”or at least like his idealized version of one. He joins a cyber-anarchist’s plot to spread a free wireless Internet through Toronto at the same time he agrees to protect his youngest brothers (members of a set of Russian nesting dolls) from their dead brother who’s now resurrected and bent on revenge. Life gets even more chaotic after he becomes the lover and protector of the girl next door, whom he tries to restrain from periodically cutting off her wings. Doctorow (Eastern Standard Tribe) treats these and other bizarre images and themes with deadpan wit. In this inventive parable about tolerance and acceptance, he demonstrates how memorably the outrageous and the everyday can coexist.
This book was originally scheduled for May 1, but my publisher pushed it back to July so that it could be used to launch a brand-new Tor/Sci-Fi Channel co-promotion deal, whereby one book a month will be chosen by the Sci-Fi Channel as a “Sci-Fi Essential” to be promoted through their media. They specifically asked for my next book to launch this, and who was I to say no?