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Miscellaneous Works by Kim Newman
March, 1994 (British edition)
November, 1995 (American edition)
0786702834 / 9780786702831
This interesting novel is from the author of the wonderful Life's Lottery. Like Life's Lottery, it's really hard to pin the story down to a particular genre; while the book can generally be found in the horror section, it's not the same sort of gore-and-monsters stuff that most horror novels tend to be. There's certainly some horrific content here, but there's just as much drama and satire. The plot is often described as a "deal with the devil" story, but there's a lot more to it than that. Vague plot summaries don't really do the book justice.
The book is of interest to gamebook readers for several reasons. First of all, the book is a decidedly non-linear narrative despite being a straightforward novel. The book jumps from time period to time period rapidly (sometimes several times within a chapter), but the story would probably still hold together if it were rearranged into chronological order (though it would have a whole different feel). Perhaps more significantly, the tie-ins to Life's Lottery are quite explicit; several significant places, along with a few minor characters, are shared by the two books. Many of the mysterious happenings in Life's Lottery are clarified by a read-through of this book, and there are definite signs that Life's Lottery was at least beginning to form in the author's mind during the writing of this book.
This novel probably isn't for everyone, but if you enjoyed Life's Lottery, it's almost a must-read. I'd also recommend it to anyone who's tired of formulaic horror and to fans of British pop culture (the Doctor Who references made my day). Good stuff, and I definitely plan to acquire additional Kim Newman novels in the near future.
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