So this week I’m reading The Stars Were Right, by K.M. Alexander.
Despite sounding a little bit like lyrics from the Alan Parsons Project song “Prime Time“:
This is not a book about progressive rock. It is, in fact, a fantasy/mystery novel, set on a Lovecraftian Earth as it exists after the stars align, the Great Old Ones awaken, and various weird races arise to join humanity in the city of Lovat, an epic seven level layer cake on top of what used to be … well, I’m not sure. Maybe New York City? At one point our heroes seek refuge in the ancient St. Mark’s Cathedral on Broadway Hill, where their injuries are tended to by some monks. I did a little Googling and so far I haven’t found a real St. Mark’s Cathedral on a Broadway Hill (perhaps a more cosmopolitan read, so I’m still not sure what city lies drowned in the waters beneath Lovat. But I expect we’ll find out eventually.
When I came to, I was still lying on the bed in the monkery. I was wearing pants again.
It’s always good to be wearing pants when you’re being pursued by psychotic killers armed with straight razors. I mean, I don’t know this from experience, but a little thought on the subject will suggest various reasons why it must be true.
One surprising thing about The Stars Were Right is that despite the “post-Aligning” setting and the presence of all the various races, the city and the life that goes on within it is surprisingly mundane. So far, nothing has really happened such that, if you replaced all the unusual species with plain old humans, you would change the story. This is as opposed to, say, the bizarre sexually-transmitted city (I’m not kidding) of Palimpsest from the book of the same name, the city of New Crobuzon from China Mieville’s Bas-Lag books, in particular, Perdido Street Station (one of my favorite books of all time), which carries a palpable air of alien intrigue and menace — and, quite frankly, I’d rather face an army of those razor-wielding maniacs than a single New Crobuzon slake-moth, pants or no pants.
Anyway I’m not saying The Stars Were Right is bad or unimaginative, just that I thought the world would be more different after Cthulhu rose from R’lyeh. Like, you know, maybe a smoking lifeless cinder. But then you can’t really have much of a story on a smoking lifeless cinder, unless maybe you’re Cormac McCarthy writing The Road. And I’m not finished with the book yet, so there’s still time for things to really go down the tubes.
Meanwhile, editing continues on Father’s Books — I’m at the point where two of the main characters meet again for the first time. Or something like that.
“I’m fine,” he said, as the officers guided him to the registration desk.
“You were out cold for like ten minutes,” one his escorts said.
“It was just a lucky sucker punch. I want to go look for my niece.”
“You don’t need to. We got actual police officers looking for your niece. With radios and stuff, so they can talk to each other. Look, are we gonna have to use the stun gun on you? Just be quiet and let them take a look at you like a good boy, okay?”
“Hey,” Rose said. “Richard Bartoski.”
The officers stopped.
They all looked at her.
“What in the name of God is going on at your house?” she said.
Hey, Rose, helpful tip: Don’t ask Richard. He hasn’t got a clue.